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Thread: Coupla Questions From a Newbie

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    Default coupla questions from a newbie

    1. Do I understand that there are some really excellent vehicles, some rather odd looking, designed for small team transit but very survivable from land mines? I remember seeming some really odd vehicles when Rhodesia was fighting terrs? In Vietnam, were not most casualties from mines?

    2. Has anyone read Luttwak's piece in Harpers? What is your reaction to it?

    3. Libya was well on the way to maiking about ten nuclear bombs a year, and had produced about 20 KG of fissile material? We have all the stuff in TN. But no mention of the 20,000 presumably Iraqi technicians making all this tuff. Where are they now? Why all the secrecy?

    4. What are the terms for

    a. few trees so harder to hide ( why killing insurgents in Afghanistan is easier that it was in Vietnam) and

    b. the low percentage of agricultural activity i a given area, and the sparse population near where insurgents travel, hence making a free fire zone more effective, with fewer civilian casualties. As I understand it, there are lots and lots of air-toground attacks in Afghanistan and things work very well.

    This web site is superb. Thanks

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Where are the 20,000 Iraqi nuclear technicians?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwillcox View Post
    1. Do I understand that there are some really excellent vehicles, some rather odd looking, designed for small team transit but very survivable from land mines? I remember seeming some really odd vehicles when Rhodesia was fighting terrs? In Vietnam, were not most casualties from mines?

    2. Has anyone read Luttwak's piece in Harpers? What is your reaction to it?

    3. Libya was well on the way to maiking about ten nuclear bombs a year, and had produced about 20 KG of fissile material? We have all the stuff in TN. But no mention of the 20,000 presumably Iraqi technicians making all this tuff. Where are they now? Why all the secrecy?

    4. What are the terms for

    a. few trees so harder to hide ( why killing insurgents in Afghanistan is easier that it was in Vietnam) and

    b. the low percentage of agricultural activity i a given area, and the sparse population near where insurgents travel, hence making a free fire zone more effective, with fewer civilian casualties. As I understand it, there are lots and lots of air-toground attacks in Afghanistan and things work very well.

    This web site is superb. Thanks
    What and where is the source of your comment about the 20,000 nuclear technicans? This could be very helpful if it is heavily, factually documented somewhere that is dependable vs. rumor.

    George Singleton, Colonel, USAF, Ret.

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    Default ISSA is source for estimate of 20,000 Iraqi techs in Libya...

    The organization is ISSA.org.

    March 29, 2006
    Iraq-Libya Nuclear Connection?

    As we noted last night, one of the recently-released audio tapes from Saddam Hussein's office makes clear that by the mid 1990s, portions, at least, of Iraq's nuclear weapons program had been moved outside that country:

    Sir, where was the Nuclear material transported to? A number of them were transported outside of Iraq.
    The tape does not say where the nuclear materials went. But two readers have suggested that it was likely Libya. Norm Grant writes:

    ISSA [International Strategic Studies Association] has been saying for years that Saddam's nuclear program was primarily located in Libya. You might want to go to strategicstudies.org and check out the January 30, 2004 Iraqi war report. ISSA has written that they have better human intel in Libya than our own CIA. ISSA believed that as many as 20,000 Iraqis were in Libya working on WMD and missile development.


    Regarding the nuclear program and the Iraqis who were working on it "somewhere." Remember when Quaddafi gave up his nuclear program in the aftermath of OIF? Initially, I was surprised to learn that Libya had a program and wondered how they could do it. They have a population of 6 million, a GDP of $30 billion, and a 75% literacy rate. For comparison, the state of Massachusetts also has a population of 6 million, a GDP of $120 billion, and the needed brainpower to build a nuclear weapon. But Massachusetts probably couldn't afford it since the cost is north of $20 billion and requires an industrial operation of at least 10,000 people. So where does Libya come by the needed people, knowledge, and money? Iraq! At the time Quadaffi said "Uncle", there were a few reports, which quickly disappeared, of large numbers of Iraqi nuclear scientists and technicians in Libya to run the program.

    The ISSA analysis is accessible here, linked through "Libya Assessments" in the upper right-hand corner of the page. The ISSA analysis is too long to quote in detail, but this is the broad outline:

    Given the billions of dollars which Saddam had invested in WMD, and the fact that WMD and associated delivery systems represented his only chance at strategic independence, it was inconceivable that he would not have engaged in massive strategic deception operations in the hope that, as partially demonstrated in 1991, once the US/West/UN had gone through Iraq as comprehensively as possible, he would then be free to re-import his strategic capacity, by that time at a proven and operational level. This option was lost, however, not because the US George W. Bush Administration was aware — at the White House level — of the specifics of the deception and re-deployment of WMD programs, but because of the intuitive belief by the White House that Pres. Saddam was engaged in a strategic-level build-up which threatened the region and Western interests.
    Saddam utilized his best efforts and international contacts and alliances to limit the scope of debate and UN inspections to an extremely finite set of conditions, all of which focused solely on the Iraqi territory. In this, he was almost totally successful.

    However, there were numerous failures to maintain the total secrecy of his actions at an operational intelligence level. This may have been inevitable, given the scope of the WMD programs being conducted in Libya, for example, where an estimated Iraqi workforce of up to 20,000 scientists, engineers and workers were engaged in WMD and missile development, and in other countries, such as Mauritania (intended as a launch site for ballistic missiles to threaten the US), where Iraqi intelligence officials were conducting aspects of the strategy.

    What has emerged from the pattern of intelligence available is that Pres. Saddam took the opportunity, possibly shortly after the 1991 defeat of his Armed Forces in the first US-led Coalition war against Iraq in 1990-91, to move his WMD programs to one or more safe havens abroad. It was known, even at that point, that Iraq maintained extensive deployments of forces and some basing inside Sudan, and that Saddam and Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi were closely aligned in that they perceived threats from the same quarters: (a) the United States, and (b) radical Islamists. Equally, they increasingly came to the same view that they needed to work with the Islamists because the various Islamist groups — ranging from Osama bin Laden’s organization to the Iranian-led Shi’a groups — also felt threatened by, and hostile to, the United States.




    Libya's nuclear weapons program was "much further advanced" than U.S. and British intelligence agencies had thought, and included centrifuges and a uranium-enrichment program, all necessary components in making a nuclear bomb, a senior Bush administration official said Friday.

    "Libya admitted to nuclear fuel-cycle projects that were intended to support a nuclear weapons program, weapons development, including uranium enrichment," this official said. [via CNN]

    Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has admitted trying to develop weapons of mass destruction but now plans to dismantle all such programs, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday.

    U.S. intelligence agencies, in unclassified publications, say Libya has developed a nuclear infrastructure, but officials stop short of saying the country is definitely trying to develop a nuclear weapon. [via MSNBC.com]


    By DAVID E. SANGER AND WILLIAM J. BROAD
    Published: March 16, 2004
    The Bush administration said Monday that the clandestine network created by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist, netted $100 million for the technology it sold to Libya alone, and for the first time officials displayed a carefully selected sample of the type of equipment that the network sold to arm Libya, Iran and North Korea.

    Under extraordinary security -- guards with automatic weapons stationed every few yards -- officials showed reporters the most basic of the high-speed centrifuges that Dr. Khan marketed to countries seeking to enrich uranium for bomb fuel. Many of the centrifuges, flown out of Libya and stored here at one of America's first nuclear weapons laboratories, were still in their original packing crates.

    But the most critical components shipped out of Tripoli -- including 4,000 more advanced centrifuges and the drawings Dr. Khan sold showing how to turn the uranium into crude warheads -- were kept out of view. So were labels and other evidence that would link specific products to Pakistan, Germany, Malaysia and a dozen other countries where Dr. Khan's network of suppliers and manufacturers operated over the past decade.

    North Korea and Iran are believed to have purchased essentially the same package of technology that Libya obtained after negotiating with Dr. Khan in the mid-1990's.

    The event here on Monday was part of a weeklong effort by the administration to trumpet what it views as one of its biggest foreign-policy accomplishments growing out of the invasion of Iraq a year ago.

    ''We've had a huge success here,'' said Spencer Abraham, the secretary of energy, who is in charge of overseeing the American nuclear stockpile. Surrounded by the cache of nuclear equipment, Mr. Abraham argued that the decision announced in December by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to disarm completely and rapidly came because of ''the resolve that we and others conveyed in Iraq, which has forced countries to make a choice.''

    Mr. Abraham said that virtually all of the 55,000 pounds of nuclear gear already brought out of Libya, which appears headed to a lifting of most American economic sanctions next month, now rests here, behind barbed-wire fences in the hills of eastern Tennessee.

    The equipment, he said, was ''the largest recovery, by weight, ever conducted under U.S nonproliferation efforts'' but was ''just the tip of the iceberg'' because a shipload of Libyan equipment is currently sailing to the United States.

    Such work, he said, ''spells out our commitment to winning the war against terrorism.''

    Libya never began to produce enriched uranium, though experts here said that if assembled, the equipment that the United States, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other nations have recovered could have produced enough fuel to make up to 10 nuclear weapons a year.

    Libya had obtained a bit less than half of the 10,000 centrifuges it hoped to operate, before determining that the program was not worth the diplomatic cost. ''The program was much more advanced than we assessed,'' Robert Joseph, who heads counterproliferation efforts in the National Security Council, said here. ''It was much larger than we assessed.''

    The $100 million estimate was nearly twice as high as the highest previous estimate of what Libya paid for its nuclear technology. That figure does not include what Iran and North Korea or other customers of the Khan network that the officials declined to identify Monday, citing continuing investigations, paid to the network of suppliers.

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    Default more for Col Singleton

    Just an addendum. I have no idea if ISSA is for real or just blowing smoke. It is fair to remind ourselves the intense level of secrecy that seems to have accompanied this removal of nuclear material.

    Were I President Bush, I would have made every foreign policy speech from the warehouse where all this Libyan-Iraqi stuff was kept, and I would have mentioned at the end of each speech,

    "Iraqi governments, sitting on billions of dollars of oil money, could afford to rebuild these nuclear facilities, capable of making 10 nuclear bombs a year, anywhere in the Islamic world. Exactly where do you think those weapons would have been detonated, the Yukon, No, the first weapon would be used in Israel, and the next 9 would be in the United States. Ths is why we must remain in Iraq and make sure the Iraqi government is not making nuclear weapons..."

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    Default

    Well, for sure, both Libya and Iraq had a bunch of Yellowcake laying around.

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