Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pakistan’s Hatf II Test: Update

Regarding “this post,”: a couple of readers pointed me to Pakistan’s April 2011 “announcement”: of its short-range NASR ballistic missile.

As I noted, the “announcement”: of the Hatf II test stated that the missile “provides an *operational level capability* to Pakistan’s Strategic Forces, *additional to* the strategic and tactical level capability, which Pakistan already possesses.” One reader observed that the NASR, with its 60 km range, is what Pakistan regards as its tactical nuclear weapon. The Hatf II is what Islamabad calls its operational nuclear weapon. Makes sense to me.

Pakistan’s Hatf II Test

“*Update here*”:

According to a March 5 Pakistani “press release,”: Pakistan conducted a successful test of a “Short Range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile Hatf II (Abdali),” which, according to Pakistan, has a range of 180 kilometers and “carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy.”

This wasn’t Pakistan’s first test of the missile, but it’s perhaps useful to compare this press release with “one announcing a March 2011 Hatf-II test.”:

According to the March 5 announcement, the Hatf II

bq. “provides an operational level capability to Pakistan’s Strategic Forces, additional to the *strategic and tactical level capability*, which Pakistan already possesses.”

That’s different from last year’s announcement, which asserted that

bq. the Abdalli weapons system now provides Pakistan with an operational level capability, additional to the strategic level capability, which Pakistan already possess because of its medium range and long range Ballistic missile systems.

Now, this language certainly seems to describe sub-strategic nuclear weapons. Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen “noted”: last year that Pakistan’s test announcement provided “another indication that Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is developing a new nonstrategic role for short-range missiles.”

Maybe I’m being pedantic, but I find it interesting that the March 2011 announcement didn’t use the word “tactical.” Perhaps Islamabad is trying to send a more direct signal to the world. Dunno.

As a side note, Norris and Kristensen described the Hatf II as a

bq. “mysterious program because its designation…suggests that its origins date back to before the 2004 introduction of the Ghaznavi (Hatf-3), indicating that its development was somehow delayed”

FWIW, the Hatf-2 is not named in the “2009 NASIC report.”:

Here’s an Associated Press of Pakistan video of this month’s test:

And here’s one of the March 2011 test:

Amano on Iran

Given what I wrote “here,”: it seemed right to post what IAEA D-G Amano “had to say”: about the IAEA Iran investigation.

According to Amano,

bq.. the February talks initially took place in a constructive spirit. Differences between Iran and the Agency appeared to have narrowed.

However, on the last day of the February talks, Iran reverted to the old approach and sought to re-impose restrictions on our work. *These included obliging the Agency to present a definitive list of questions and denying us the right to revisit issues, or to deal with certain issues in parallel, to name just a few.*

This goes to the core of how we conduct our business. Iran’s position made it impossible to reach agreement.

p. This, to me, is the really interesting part:

bq. I informed the Board of Governors that *statements made by Iran about the discussions with the Agency contain information which is not factually correct.* This is regrettable.

Not sure what he’s referring to…

Israeli Intel Report

I recently ran across “this 2004 report from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee”: about Israeli intelligence while I was going through my files. Titled “Report on the Committee of Enquiry into the Intelligence System in Light of the War in Iraq,” the whole document is pretty interesting and perhaps relevant to some current issues.

The report, obviously, is mostly about Iraq. But some other countries receive mentions.

There’s not much on Iran, but the report does point out that the Israeli intel community “earned significant success” in Iran “by being *among the first intelligence services* to detect its efforts to develop a military nuclear industry already in the mid-Nineties.”

In my opinion, though, the _really_ interesting stuff is about Libya. The report notes that

bq. In recent months, the State of Israel was *surprised to discover that Libya, under Muammar Gaddafi, has been intensively engaged in the development of a military nuclear capability*…

And it goes on to discuss US/UK intel cooperation with Israel:

bq. *The intelligence services of the USA (and of Britain) did not share with their colleagues in Israel in real time their recent and significant exposures of the Libyan nuclear program,* and even *concealed from the State of Israel the steps taken vis-à-vis the Libyan regime* in the apparently successful attempt to bring about the liquidation of its nuclear industry and persuade it not to continue the development of its capabilities in the nuclear sphere.

Lastly, please forgive a bit of repetition, but I quite liked the summary by MK Dr. Yuval Steinitz (the Commission’s Chair) of the Libya issue:

bq. In Libya, where they failed to disclose the overall picture and *woke up one fine morning* to learn from foreign intelligence services of the real scope of that country’s efforts *to obtain nuclear weapons that could threaten Israel’s very existence.*

Happy Monday

Iran and IAEA Document

“This”: may be around elsewhere, but I saw that ACA “posted a letter”: from Iran’s PermRep to the IAEA documenting a February exchange between Iran and the Agency regarding plans for resolving the outstanding issues concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

I’ll have more to say about it later, but this is a pretty rare glimpse into Iranian diplomacy.

Interview with Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff

Defense News had a “good interview”: a little while back with Adm. Asif Sandila, Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff.

There are several useful items, but this is the paragraph that would likely most interest nuclear geeks:

bq.. Q. Later this decade, you will face an Indian nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed ballistic submarine that threatens the current strategic balance in South Asia. How do you intend to respond?

A. The strategic dimension of India’s naval buildup is a cause of concern not only for us but for the entire Indian Ocean region. I feel nuclearization of the Indian Ocean does not augur well for peace and stability in the region. We are mindful of this development and taking necessary measures to restore the strategic balance.