Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A review of Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A. Q. Khan, and the Rise of Proliferation Networks

by Zia Mian from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (US: Illinois)

Washington imposed sanctions on Pakistan in April 1979. Nine months later, the United States offered to waive the sanctions and provide hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and military aid to Pakistan. This was to grow into two multibillion dollar aid packages and was only part of a much larger U.S. effort that would involve Saudi Arabia, other oil-rich Arab countries, Western Europe, and China. Why did nonproliferation suddenly lose its value? Washington decided that Khan and the Pakistani Bomb were less important than confronting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It mattered even less that Pakistan was ruled by a military dictator intent on creating an Islamic state. This remained the judgment for 10 years. By then, the damage was done: Pakistan had the Bomb, and a generation had been schooled in radical Islam and jihad. It was only when the Soviets left Afghanistan that Washington rediscovered Pakistan's nuclear weapons program and again imposed sanctions. These and other sanctions on Pakistan were lifted as part of the effort to gain Pakistan's support for the U.S. attack on Afghanistan in 2001. Billions of dollars of military and economic aid again flowed to Pakistan.

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