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The UN would like to take a look at "suspected" nuclear facilities. Will that occur? Not a chance.

U.N. to Israel: Open nuclear program to inspection

The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East that was just canceled.

All Arab nations and Iran had planned to attend the conference in mid-December in Helsinki, Finland, but the United States announced on Nov. 23 that it wouldn't take place, citing political turmoil in the region and Iran's defiant stance on nonproliferation. Iran and some Arab nations countered that the real reason for the cancellation was Israel's refusal to attend.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 174-6 with 6 abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty "without further delay" and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting "no" were Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member General Assembly are not legally binding, but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight.

Previously Obama has called on Israel to sign:
"Whether we're talking about Israel or any other country, we think that becoming part of the NPT is important," Obama said. "And that, by the way, is not a new position. That's been a consistent position of the United States government, even prior to my administration."
Though this is not at all the first time such a resolution has been passed, and nor is it legally binding, this latest round is strongly supported by the world, 174-6 with 6 abstentions. Israel still refuses to acknowledge its nuclear weapon stockpile or their destabilizing presence in the region, while most other nations seek a nuclear-free Mideast.

Cowen Thorne

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Comment Preferences

  •  oh brother. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dhonig, doc2, Mannie, debedb, TLS66

    there's not a whole lot I agree with the GOP on, but the UN really has a great but limited purpose, and the rest of it is just a waste of time, space, and money.

    there's really no reason at all we should be paying for the majority of the kabuki.

    •  The rest of it? (10+ / 0-)

      you might apprise yourself about what the UN (and its numerous agencies) actually does before making a comment of this nature.  Do actually believe that most of the money is directed at servicing voting procedures of the political organs?  This is an infinitesimal fraction of the UN budget- which is largely directed to administering programs - whether it is food distribution in famine areas, refugee protection, human rights fact finding by independent experts, and many, many other activities.  Because the media only pays attention to activities when some pseudo-controversial vote takes place in the political bodies does not mean that the majority or even a significant portion of what the UN does is "Kabuki".
      (And, by the way, when an undeclared nuclear power with at least 300-400 nuclear warheads places itself outside of the supervisory system that other nuclear powers are obligated to subscribe to, it would be negligent of the UN's political body not to call them to task.  Taking a roll call vote on the question really does not cost any money.)

      "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."- Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

      by normal family on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 04:21:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm aware of its other activities, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and none of it is terribly crucial or important.  the world would carry on virtually unchanged without the periodic reports from the special rapporteur on refrigerator coolants etal.

        the UN does have some utility, for sure, but its far from most of its activity.  its a bit like a church budget: sure, 10% of the budget at the outer limit goes to actually helping others, but the rest is salaries so that people can have endless internal deliberations and meetings.  (see, eg)  

    •  Talk is cheap, whatever it costs. Bombs are (4+ / 0-)

      quicker, no doubt about it. But, their deadliness last a lot longer.
      Shame on Israel for not joining the Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. Inspections could have been delayed until it had time to get rid of what it claims not to have in the first place.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:07:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think having a place to complain internationally (0+ / 0-)

      contributes to world peace. While on the one hand the existence of the UN General Assembly is one of the things that has made Ahmadinedjad a celebrity I wonder whether his cries for attention would have taken on a more violent nature in the absence of a platform from which to speak.

      Put another way - speeches at the UN allow world leaders to make it seem as if they are "doing something" while achieving not much of anything. This may be a net positive.

      If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
      If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
      If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

      by A Gutin Daf on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:25:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Performance Art (5+ / 0-)

    and the UN at its least.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 04:01:31 AM PST

  •  ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Gutin Daf
    Theatre, artifice, fake, insincere, something done only for show. lip service

    Atheistic Determinist and Contemplative Contrarian.

    by ShockandAwed on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 04:07:07 AM PST

  •  Israel could not get away with this if US acted (6+ / 0-)

    it has been clear for decades that Israel gets away with what it does because of US support

    The arrogance of the recent land grab of 3,000 more settlers shows that it does not know any bounds.

  •  Quiz time. What was the last (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stwriley, koNko

    country to have nuclear weapons but then to get rid of all of them and become non-nuclear?

  •  Iran deterrent - Israel's nukes on its subs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cryonaut, volleyboy1, TLS66

    I have considered Israel's considerable nuclear stockpile (not sure whether it has atomic weapons or nuclear weapons - they are different), including many of them on its submarines (Germany delivered a 4th submarine to Israel in 2012, a 5th is due in 2013 and a 6th sub has been ordered), to be Israel's ultimate deterrent against an Iranian (or otehr country or group's) biological, chemical or nuclear attack.  Iran might be able to get past Israel's anti-missile Iron Dome system and inflict damage on Israeli cities, but could not simultaneously destroy the nuclear weapons deployed on Israel's nuclear submarines.  I assume Israel would respond to such an attack by incinerating Tehran and other Iranian cities, oil centers, possibly the religious center Qom, in response.

    A rational leadership in Iran would understand this.  The problem is that neither the religious leaders nor political leadership of Iran in recent years has given the world confidence that they are "rational".  THAT is the risk.

  •  We need to get all the none-signers... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, koNko, Brecht

    put into the NPT structure one way or another. It's not just Israel, it's India and Pakistan too (and the DPRK, but that's a different issue since they're already a signatory nation.) That does make this vote to pressure Israel look pretty political rather than a real attempt to adjust the NPT regime to current circumstances. In this UN vote, both India and Pakistan voted to demand that Israel join the NPT and open its facilities; neither of these nations is a signatory themselves and stand in exactly the same relationship to the world nuclear regulatory system that Israel does. Nor do either of them have any intention of signing on any time soon, since they'd have to follow South Africa and give up their weapons programs.

    What we need is a new set of protocols for the NPT to add the new (non-signatory) nuclear states as acknowledged powers and a new, more rigorous disarmament regime for all. This will help to keep the current balance a bit more stable, it leaves much more room to deal with signatory states causing trouble (like the real problems in the DPRK and the posturing with Iran) and it reassures the non-weapon states that the real goal of the NPT, gradual disarmament to minimal levels of weapons and materials, might actually be achieved.

    Until we get that, and we won't until it's the U.S. leading on it, then any gestures like this UN vote are futile as real policy. The UN is only as effective as its most powerful members decide it should be in a given area. If we decided that this was a priority, we could easily sway the other major nuclear powers in favor of it (especially if we were offering real disarmament goals for ourselves) and bring in the non-signatory states all at once. But it will take real leadership to get this done, not just at State, but from the Oval Office. I just don't know if the President has the political capital to spend on this now, though hopefully he will before the end of his term. He has a strong personal interest in disarmament and non-proliferation, though, so who knows what he might try if he gets the chance?

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

    by Stwriley on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:26:32 AM PST

  •  The NPT is a colossal failure. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why anyone would want to board the sinking ship is beyond me.

    •  Hardly (4+ / 0-)

      Please provide proof there would not have been more proliferation without it.

      You could start by listing the countries that signed the treaty who later developed nuclear weapons.

      So far, 3 states, India, Israel and Pakistan have not signed.

      One state, North Korea, has withdrawn.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 07:28:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Negative proof? (0+ / 0-)
        Please provide proof there would not have been more proliferation without it.
        Obviously, this is impossible for basic logical reasons.

        The NPT is successful the same way that the Cluster Munition treaty was successful... it didn't involve anyone who was actually interested in using the weapons in question.

        That's without even discussing its ongoing failure in Iran.

        •  How do you believe the NPT is failing in (0+ / 0-)


          "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

          by JesseCW on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:43:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, let's see... (0+ / 0-)

            ...besides the rather transparent fact they're enriching uranium for a weapon (the amount of uranium being enriched is vastly greater than the amount needed to fuel a research reactor) they hid the facility from the IAEA instead of declaring it as they were obligated to.

            Back in 1991 they failed to declare the importation of Uranium from China.

            Then they barred IAEA inspectors from nuclear sites.

            •  They had no fuel left for their research reactor (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deward Hastings

              at end of last year.  It uses roughly 20kg of fuel per year.  

              They currently have 90 kilos of enriched uranium waiting to be turned into fuel.   It's a pretty big stretch to say this is "vastly" more than they need.

              Under the original NPT, Iran isn't obligated to notify the IAEA of the planing or construction of facilities until 180 days before they bring them on-line.

              Now, the IAEA quite reasonably wants all member states to sign and abide by all of the modern changes to the NPT.  Iran refuses to do so.  

              If nations have a right to refuse to the sign the NPT all together, then they obviously have the right to refuse to sign on to later modifications.

              They haven't barred inspectors from any nuclear sites.  

              They've refused to allow IAEA inspectors into their equivilent to Area 51.  This is a site where they test rockets and aircraft and - according to documents of completely unknown provenance - may have conducted experiments into how to detonate a nuclear device more than 15 years ago.

              This place needs a PVP server.

              by JesseCW on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:20:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

          That is what that assertion requires, so I'd be very interested to see it if it exists.

          And you are making the same sort of argument.

          If a law prevents 10 crimes and fails to prevent 1 is that "failure"?

          By that measure, we would be hard pressed to define any law or treaty a "success", so why bother, right?

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:45:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Israel proved its need for atomic bombs in 1973 (0+ / 0-)

    From Wikipedia, about the night of October 8th 1973:

    That night Meir authorized the assembly of thirteen 20-kiloton-of-TNT (84 TJ) tactical atomic weapons for Jericho missiles at Sdot Micha Airbase, and F-4 aircraft at Tel Nof Airbase, for use against Syrian and Egyptian targets.[259] They would be used if absolutely necessary to prevent total defeat, but the preparation was done in an easily detectable way, likely as a signal to the United States.[261] Kissinger learned of the nuclear alert on the morning of October 9. That day, President Nixon ordered the commencement of Operation Nickel Grass, an American airlift to replace all of Israel's material losses.[262] Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kissinger told Sadat that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to "going nuclear."
    Israeli citizens' safety from invasion is based on the premise that Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan view a war with Israel as being a losing proposition. Israel's atomic weapons are the worst kept secret in the world, including the threat to use them in '73, so that her neighbors know that she will go all the way if backed against a wall.

    US governments, while paying lip service to non proliferation, have clearly decided that an unregulated atomic Israel is better for US interests that a disarmed Israel. Strangely enough, these weapons have generally contributed to regional stability.

    As for Iran - any country in the world that views itself as having enemies is probably always looking for nukes. North Korea, India, and Pakistan's experience with the world community all demonstrate that having them is better than not having them in terms of your country's self determination. One reason why the US and other countries are working so hard to prevent a nuclear Iran is because they can get much more done pre-nukes than post.

    If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
    If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
    If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

    by A Gutin Daf on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:36:04 AM PST

  •  Here in the United States (0+ / 0-)

    We don't really have imminent enemies and have not been under any existential threat at all since the cold war ended if not all the way back to the Kennedy administration (post Cuban missile crisis). Either way the existential threat was more about bombs than invasions. When is the last time the contiguous 48 states were invaded by an outside enemy?

    Israel, on the other hand, has dealt with invasion as recently as 1973 and real existential threats that would include an outside invader as late as the early 80s. It would not take too much for the threat to return - just a little bit of radicalization of the Muslim Brotherhood plus a more militant government in Syria would be about all that it would take for the threat of a real ground war to resurface.

    One thing that can continue to hold back such invasions in the future is the existence of these weapons.

    A key question for me on the topic of nuclear and atomic weapons is who am I more scared of in the world today who has nukes but is not part of the treaty - Israel or Pakistan? I am more scared of Pakistan any day of the week given that it is much less stable than Israel. In spite of this, while the UN has named Pakistan in all-inclusive nuclear arms resolutions it has yet to single Pakistan out the way it has done with israel. Whether it is true or not resolutions like this one provide further fodder to those (including myself) who view the UN as being heavily biased against Israel in the General Assembly.

    If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
    If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
    If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

    by A Gutin Daf on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:47:03 AM PST

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