Forget Iran, Israel Has 80 Nuclear Weapons -- With More Than 17,000 Controlled by Other Countries
June 4, 2013
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Gavriel Fiske / The Times of Israel & Richard Norton-Taylor / The Guardian
At the start of 2013, eight states -- the US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel -- possessed approximately 4,400 operational nuclear weapons, with nearly 2,000 kept in a state of high operational alert. If all warheads are counted, these states possess approximately 17,265 nuclear weapons. According to the Stockholm Institute, all five legally recognized nuclear states 'appear determined to retain nuclear arsenals indefinitely.'
Report: Israel Has At Least 80 Nukes
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(June 3, 2013) -- A new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has weighed in with an educated guess about the Israeli military's secretive nuclear weapons program, estimating the nation has around 80 "strategic" level nuclear weapons.
The estimate suggests 50 of the warheads are for Jericho II medium range missiles, with another 30 gravity bombs to be dropped from warplanes. The report says it is possible that smaller tactical nukes could also be in the nation's arsenal.
If true, this would make Israel's arsenal the smallest of the eight nuclear powers, though roughly in line with India and Pakistan who both, like Israel, are not signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). SIPRI put their arsenals in the range of 90-120 warheads.
Israel had been believed to have a considerably larger arsenal than this, with past estimates mostly in the 200 warhead range and some suggesting the number could be as high as 400. Israel is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East.
The report was critical not only of the non-NPT nations with nuclear arsenals, but also of the signatories who they reported are flouting treaty requirements to work toward disarmament, noting that all five such powers are working on new nuclear weapons or plan to do so.
Israel Now Has 80 Nuclear Warheads, Report Says
Think tank: Total number of atomic weapons dropping worldwide, but possession is 'still a marker of international status'
Gavriel Fiske / The Times of Israel
(June 3, 2013) -- Israel possesses some 80 nuclear warheads -- rather fewer than once thought, and lower than the nuclear arsenal of countries that are officially in possession of atomic weapons -- according to the new 2013 yearbook put out by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading think tank on global security issues.
Of those warheads, 50 are for medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 are for bombs carried by aircraft, the report said. In addition, "Israel may also have produced non-strategic nuclear weapons, including artillery shells and atomic demolition munitions," the Guardian reported Monday.
Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has long maintained an official position of ambiguity with regards to its nuclear capabilities.
In 1986, based on information supplied by ex-Dimona nuclear technician Moredechai Vanunu, later convicted of treason, the Sunday Times of London estimated that Israel had produced more than 100 nuclear warheads.
India and Pakistan, also countries that have not signed the NPT but that nonetheless possess nuclear weapons, each have around 90-120 warheads, SIPRI found, while the NPT countries have many hundreds, or, in the case of the US and Russia, many thousands, more.
Despite pledging not to do so, the countries that have signed the NPT are still developing new nuclear weapons technology and are prepared to hold on to their stores, the report said.
"All five legally recognized nuclear weapon states -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programs to do so, and appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely," SIPRI said in a press release, while noting that with the exception of China, which "seems to be expanding its nuclear arsenal," overall numbers of nuclear weapons possessed by NPT countries have been falling.
At the start of 2013 the five NPT states, plus India, Pakistan and Israel, possessed "approximately 4,400 operational nuclear weapons. Nearly 2,000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possess a total of approximately 17,265 nuclear weapons… as compared with 19,000 at the beginning of 2012," SIPRI stated.
The report attributed the decrease to Russia and the US having reduced their inventories to fulfill their obligations under New START, the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, and the culling of obsolete weapons.
SIPRI does not count North Korea and Iran as nuclear powers, as their respective programs are still considered in their nascent stages.
"Once again there was little to inspire hope that the nuclear weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals. The long-term modernization programs under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a marker of international status and power," SIPRI researcher Shannon Kile said.
The report, produced annually since 1968, analyzes issues relating to security and conflicts, military spending, the arms industry and non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament issues.
SIPRI found that in 2012, the numbers of peacekeeper forces deployed worldwide dropped some 10 percent, largely due to the gradual withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan.
On Syria, "the United Nations appeared paralyzed… the new principle of an international responsibility to protect populations if the national government fails to do so -- the basis of the 2011 intervention in Libya -- was not invoked, as China and Russia threatened to veto any action through the UN and other Security Council members opposed outside 'interference' in Syria's domestic affairs," the report said.
"In the end, national interests and deep-rooted fears that the responsibility to protect undermines the principle of state sovereignty, seem to weigh heavier than the plight of populations caught up in conflict," senior researcher Dr. Jair van der Lijn said.
Efforts to introduce international controls on cluster munitions were unsuccessful in 2013, the report said. Such devices disperse explosives that can sometimes detonate a significant amount of time after they are deployed, posing a threat to civilians.
Major arms-producing countries that have not signed onto the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, including Israel and the US, continue to produce, distribute and stockpile such munitions, "even if most seem to have acknowledged their potentially grave humanitarian impacts," SIPRI wrote.
Nuclear States Developing New Weapons in Defiance of Treaty, Report Claims
Richard Norton-Taylor / The Guardian
LONDON (June 3, 2013) -- All five legally recognised nuclear states 'appear determined to retain nuclear arsenals indefinitely', says Stockholm institute
The UK is seeking to replace its fleet of Trident nuclear submarines, which are coming to an end of their operational lifespan. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images
All five legally recognised nuclear states as defined by the non-proliferation treaty -- China, France, Russia, the UK and US -- are either deploying new nuclear weapons and delivery systems or plan to do so, according to a leading international research organisation.
The countries "appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely," says the latest yearbook published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).
At the start of 2013, eight states -- the US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel -- possessed approximately 4,400 operational nuclear weapons. Nearly 2,000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possess a total of approximately 17,265 nuclear weapons, says the Sipri report.
Signatories of the non-proliferation treaty, including the UK, pledge to work towards nuclear disarmament.
"Once again there was little to inspire hope that the nuclear-weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals. The long-term modernisation programmes under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a marker of international status and power," said the Sipri senior researcher Shannon Kile.
Of the five "official" nuclear states, China appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal while India and Pakistan are expanding both their nuclear weapon stockpiles and their missile delivery capabilities, Sipri says. Pakistan is also expanding its main plutonium-production complex at Khushab, Punjab.
Sipri estimates that Israel has approximately 80 intact nuclear weapons, 50 for its Jericho II medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 for gravity bombs carried by aircraft. Israel may also have produced non-strategic nuclear weapons, including artillery shells and atomic demolition munitions, says the yearbook.
It estimates world military expenditure in 2012 to have been $1.756tn (£1.157tn), representing 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) -- or $249 for each person in the world. Though a little lower than the previous two years, the total is higher than in any year between the end of the second world war and 2010.
The distribution of global spending in 2012 shows a shift from the west to other parts of the world, including the Middle East and north Africa, eastern Europe and the developing world.
The international arms trade in major conventional weapons grew by 17% between 2003 and 2012. The five largest suppliers over the past five years -- the US, Russia, Germany, France and China -- accounted for 75% of all conventional arms exports.
China may represent "the vanguard of an increase in the significance of Asian suppliers in the international arms trade, as South Korea is an emerging arms supplier and Japan and Singapore have potential to become major suppliers", says Sipri.
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