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North Korea

Though worldwide media are screaming about yesterday’s ballistic missile launch, the UNSC failed to act against the poor and determined communists.

The missile launch failed technically, but won diplomatically: by stepping up its military activities, North Korea comes back to international prominence and receives aid, which perpetuates its atrocious regime.
The communists similarly profited from a failed nuclear test.

America pays its enemies rather than its friends. Jewish nicety and compliance with American diplomatic wishes bring Israel neither significant aid nor support. A militant Israeli policy which destabilizes the Middle East would bring more benefits.

Israel has filed a lose-lose case against North Korea, charging the communists with supplying rocket technology to Hezbollah via Iran. Thirty Israeli victims of the Kayusha attacks of 2006 are asking a Washington court to award them $100 million in compensation.

As in the case of Iran, the judgment may only be entered by default, as the other party has refused to appear. Israelis, on the other hand, lack national pride and accepted the jurisdiction of the Spanish court, submitting stacks of documents to exonerate IDF’s top brass in Ahmed Yassin’s assassination case.

No money can be collected from North Korea, and the communists will take the US judgment as a slap in the face, and might resume their nuclear program.

North Korea has resumed its nuclear program in response to Western condemnation of its ballistic missile launch. The communists expelled IAEA monitors.

The North uses its nuclear program for leverage on occasion, and is never going to dismantle it. North Korea reportedly received $2 billion from Iran for a nuclear technology transfer to Syria—much more than the $900 million offer from the US to end the nuclear program.

The communist regime pulled out of the international talks on its nuclear disarmament and proceeded to reactivate its partially dismantled nuclear reactor. Though the regime cites the UN condemnation of its ballistic-missile test as the pretext, the real reason is different: North Korea got a cash customer for HEU (highly enriched uranium). It recently sent a large shipment of HEU to Iran.

North Korea, a cash-hungry and unprincipled nuclear proliferator, is more dangerous than Iran.

We have stated repeatedly that North Korea won’t stop its nuclear program in exchange for aid.

In the last two weeks North Korea has made clear that it regards UNSC sanctions for its ballistic missile program as a casus belli (which they indeed are according to international law), and threatened nuclear escalation.

Despite the warning, UNSC passed another round of symbolic, useless sanctions against North Korean companies.

Hours later, North Korea restarted its nuclear reprocessing plant and now extracts plutonium from spent rods. That country already has enough plutonium for several bombs and recently delivered some HEU to Iran.

America can easily bomb North Korea’s nuclear facilities, but refrains for a reason. The example of South Korea relying on America for last-resort protection against its nuclear neighbor is valid for Israel. Just as South Koreans put up with hostile nukes, so is Israel expected to do.

Leftists in the US State Department must be especially happy about North Korean nuclear weapons: the unrestricted proliferation changes the world order as we knew it (which makes leftists happy) and rules out military solutions, thus enhancing the diplomats’ position.

The communists have promised to conduct nuclear tests unless the UNSC apologizes for criticizing the Korean ballistic missile launch. Since the UN is not going to apologize, the North Koreans are clearly just looking for a pretext for nuclear tests. Their first test failed, and they need to test the improved design. Considering North Korea’s readiness to up the stakes dramatically, it must have a customer for its nuclear bombs—one whose cash payment would offset any sanctions.

Earlier, UNSC failed to impose sanctions on North Korea for ballistic missile test. As usual with everything done in the communist country, the test has failed and the ballistic missile dropped in the ocean. Though the North Korean missiles technically put the United States in danger, there is no way such an attack would take place, thus the UNSC is not overly concerned. The UNSC’s condemnation came as a sop to Japan which sees Korean missile as upsetting the regional balance of power and to Israel which fears missile technology transfer to Iran. Iran’s own Shihab-3 ballistic missile tests were of limited success.

The North Korea’s customer for nuclear weapons is almost certainly Iran. Weeks ago, the communist regime secretly shipped highly enriched uranium to Iran to complement Iran’s own production. The shipment brings Iran stocks to at least 3,000 lbs, enough for two nuclear weapons.

North Korea conducted its missile test and now the nuclear test as a pre-sale show for Iran. The ayatollahs rush with buying weapon-grade uranium from North Korea rather than manufacturing their own to establish facts on the ground: Iran’s nuclearization must be complete before the start of direct talks with the United States.

As we predicted, North Korea has conducted a nuclear test. With tongue in cheek, the test was scheduled for Memorial Day.

With a blast equal to a magnitude 4.7 earthquake, the test was successful and involved a decent 15-30kt nuclear weapon.

Besides a flurry of international condemnations, nothing will be done against North Korea, nor there is anything that could be done. The closed communist economy is immune to sanctions, humane Westerners won’t stop aid to the starving population, and some plutonium is certainly stored elsewhere besides in the known facilities, which are themselves deep underground where they cannot be destroyed with conventional weapons.

A nuclear strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities is the only way to show the communists that proliferation is inadvisable, but no one would undertake this step.

Obama is especially interested in letting North Korea off the hook, as the example of South Korea would teach Israel that it is possible to live alongside a nuclear-armed enemy by relying on American security guarantees. To live for some time, at least.

Democratic rulers like Obama are only interested in the short term. In the long run, rogue nukes diminish American influence worldwide as other countries develop their own nuclear deterrence.

In the domino effect, Japan and Vietnam will be hard-pressed to openly launch their nuclear programs. South Korea will continue relying on the United States, but will probably launch a covert nuclear program of its own.

For Israel the big question is, who did North Korea sell its nuclear weapons to, Iran or the terrorists?

Following the American decision to stop all North Korean ships for inspection to curb nuclear proliferation, the communists formally rescinded the armistice with South Korea and promised retaliation. North Korea also re-launched its reactor and started reprocessing of spent uranium rods into plutonium—the scenario we have repeatedly predicted for Iran’s ‘peaceful’ Bushehr reactor.

This is becomeing increasingly interesting. North Koreans are clearly inviting an American strike on their nuclear facilities. With several nuclear bombs at their disposal, they might be betting on soundly defeating the United States in a South Korean proxy war. The communists are counting on Obama not to use American nukes against them.

Obama will try to muster a coalition with Russia, and perhaps China, to attack North Korean nuclear installations.

Gen. Jones, Obama’s national security advisor, claimed that North Korea is “a long way from developing a nuclear weapon.” Jones means that the North tested a clumsy device which cannot be fitted onto a warhead.

Why would North Korea deplete its small stocks of plutonium by testing a prototype?

Jones avoids the uncomfortable conclusion that North Korea already has a weapon and can sell it. He continued with his head-in-sand claim by naming North Korea and Iran as the two major threats, though clearly the biggest threat is Pakistan, which aggressively exports nuclear know-how and whose reactors are located in areas controlled by the Taliban. Since, however, Jones can do nothing about Pakistan, avoiding the issue is the way to go.

Jones had entertained high hopes that Russia and China would stop North Korea. The Koreans, however, openly spurned the Chinese mediation efforts. China does not fear North Korea and has little reason to put pressure on it. North Korea’s nuclearization diminishes American influence in the region and thus improves the Chinese position. The Russians have had no influence whatsoever on North Korea in the past few years.

The North Korean nuclear problem can be tackled with a handful of ballistic missiles, but the West is too cowardly for that.

The Defense Secretary promised to hold North Korea responsible for any nuclear materials or technology it sells abroad.

Really? What about the Syrian reactor, or the April shipment of highly enriched uranium to Iran?

In a widely publicized leak, an unnamed official claims that atmospheric probes after the test did not show any traces of radiation.

So of course, we should assume that the communists brought 100-200 train cars of TNT underground and detonated them all at once. What nonsense.

Other downplay the test as merely a 4kt rather than, as we estimate, 10-20kt. The registered 4.7 earthquake magnitude in relatively porous rocks with plenty of natural cavities cannot indicate anything less than a 10kt blast.

Speaking in the Senate, US Defense Secretary Gates assured his audience that the US would have no trouble intercepting North Korean missiles.

North Korea threatened nuclear offensive if the international community “offends its dignity,” a euphemism for UNSC resolutions, anti-terrorist and money-laundering charges.

The UNSC has adopted relatively tough sanctions against North Korea, banning all military exports from the communist state and instituting open-water inspections of North Korean ships. It remains unclear how the UNSC expects to forcibly inspect North Korean cargo on chartered ships registered in other countries.

The sanctions demonstrate the difference between oil-less Korea and oil-rich Iran. The UNSC does not mind slapping the economically irrelevant North Korea with sanctions.

The sanctions won’t change North Korea’s behavior, as it has many options for smuggling its military equipment. Moreover, North Korea’s largest cash cow is technological transfer rather than export of hard goods. A computer disk with manuals on rocket and nuclear technology is impossible to intercept.

In response, North Korea predictably vowed to reprocess its entire stock of uranium into plutonium to make bombs. By refusing to bomb the North Korean reactor and offering it the casus belli of sanctions, the UNSC pushed North Korea toward nuclear proliferation.

Very soon, the communists will sell their first nuclear bombs.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the deployment of additional ABM systems on Hawaii to counter an utterly unlikely attack from North Korea.

If the United States considers the threat of a North Korean attack credible, why not destroy the reactor? Rather, hapless Gates conducts his usual political show.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry indicated that it is ready for negotiations with the United States, but refused the previously agreed-upon six-nation negotiations format.

The communists understand that it is much easier to wrest concessions from Obama than from China or Russia. The North Koreans refuse disarmament, however, so the purpose of the talks is not clear.

Fearful of accepting responsibility, the Obama Administration refuses to engage in bilateral talks.

The communist regime has announced an upcoming third nuclear test. This time the bomb will be made of enriched uranium rather than plutonium.

North Korean leadership needs the bomb to ensure that the US won’t attempt to subvert their regime, especially as Kim’s 26-year-old son is slated to succeed him. The communists cannot comprehend that the West has grown too lazy to act even in the face of a nuclear threat, and therefore does not threaten the regime.

Given the links between North Korea and Iran, a successful test of a Korean uranium bomb means Iran has all the know-how necessary for manufacturing the weapon. The Koreans have very little supply of fissile material and would be loathe to waste it on tests.

Also, North Korea has hardly enough enriched uranium for a bomb; most of its stocks are of plutonium. Iran, on other hand, has plenty of enriched uranium.

It is highly likely that the Koreans are conducting the test in cooperation with Iran, which does not want to test its weapon on its territory. Thus, North Korean tests mean the completion of Iran’s nuclear program.

Speaking to the New York Times, the Defense Minister took the position we’ve been advocating for years: the North Korean threat is more important than the threat from Iran, and must be eliminated first.

But now it’s too late. If a decision must be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons rather than siding with nuclear Iran against Egypt, Israel has no time to wait for an American showdown with North Korea.

The communist regime has finished reprocessing its 8,000 fuel rods into plutonium, adding at least two more nuclear bombs to its stockpile. Since North Korea had exported nuclear technology, uranium, and an entire reactor, no doubt it is ready to sell the bombs, too.

According to the Vienna draft, Iran would receive similar fuel rods, which it can also reprocess. The Russians have already supplied Iran with 80 tons of fuel rods for Bushehr.

Iran vacillates over the Vienna agreement: its various officials give contradicting replies. Iran needs to buy very little time to complete its nuclear cycle.

North Korea Navy personnelAs Obama was preparing to visit South Korea, the North claimed its chunk of attention by staging serious naval confrontations with the South.

North Korea follows Assad’s maxim that there can be no regional peace with Syria: unable to wage a war, it engages in multitude of hostile activities. Thus, without a war, on the cheap, Syria secured the Israeli government’s de facto agreement to give back the Golan Heights. Impoverished and unable to wage a modern war with the South, North Korea stages hostile acts to keep the world powers at the negotiation table and secure foreign aid.

Many commentators are optimistic that US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf will somehow threaten Iran into halting its nuclear program.

The United States staged a much larger military show in the East Sea: an aircraft carrier, two hundred aircraft, and 8,000 troops conducting joint maneuvers with the South Koreans. Of course, the exercise will have no effect on North Korean whatsoever. Like the Iranians, they know that the American military behemoth lacks the willpower to smash their nuclear installations.

Past coverage: North Korea
16.04 North Korea breaks agreement, doesn’t shut nuclear reactor
23.04 South Korea hopes to trade rice for nukes,
21.06 US envoy apologizes before North Korea
24.06 Blackmail works: US satisfies North Korea’s demands
15.07 Surprise, surprise from North Korea
14.09 North Korea transfers nuclear know-how to Syria
04.10 The explosive news from North Korea
10.10 Rice: Don't worry about the nuclear axis
04.11 US confirms disablement of North Korean nuclear reactor
21.12 North Korea fails on nuclear disarmament
27.02 Israel, US build coalition against North Korea
22.06 North Korea dismantles Yongbyon nuclear reactor
26.08 North Korea: fake de-nuclearization stalled
19.09 North Korea restarts its nuclear program
24.09 North Korea reactivates nuclear reactor in a week
04.10 Arab regimes brace for nuclear bomb
11.10 US moves to delist North Korea as a terrorist country
30.01 North Korea seeks Iran's fame
17.02 Clinton clashes with North Korea
05.04 Japan is important, Israel is not