Who Gets Nuclear Power?

By Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal

Who gets nuclear power and who does not? Who decides? The first is the million dollar question. The second seems to be the United States. However the decision making on who can and can not have nuclear power seems almost whimsical.

Now North Korea can’t have nuclear power because they have the stated goal of nuclear weapons. Of course Pakistan, India, and China have both nuclear power and nuclear weapons, but that is OK. In fact, the U.S. has a pact to assist India with its nuclear power.

Iran has civilian nuclear plants and wants to expand them, but it “can’t” because the U.S. (and perhaps others) are saying they will use the material to refine for nuclear weapons. This has meandered on to the point that the U.S. is citing a “deal with U.N. members to punish Iraq.” Actually, there are suggestions once again that the U.S. is preparing to attack Iran. Bush has “sent the message” that the U.S. won’t “live with” a nuclear Korea.”

But quietly the word slips out that Egypt is restarting its nuclear program after shutting down in the wake of Chernobyl. Somewhat surprisingly, the U.S. has offered to help with the effort.

If you are shaking your head, then I agree. What is going on here. On September 20th, the NY Times discusses the Egyptian decision as follows:

“Gamal Mubarak, the son of Egypt’s president, has proposed that his country pursue nuclear energy in a speech to the nation’s political elite, drawing strong applause while raising expectations that Mubarak is being positioned to replace his father as president.

The carefully crafted political speech Tuesday raised the prospect of two potentially embarrassing developments for the White House at a time when the region is awash in crisis: a nuclear program in Egypt, recipient of about $2 billion a year in military and development aid from the United States, and Mubarak succeeding his father, Hosni Mubarak, as president without substantial political challenge.

Simply raising the topic of Egypt’s nuclear ambitions at a time of heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear activity was received as a calculated effort to raise the younger Mubarak’s profile and to build public support through a show of defiance toward Washington, political analysts and foreign affairs experts said.”

If this was a “defiant” move, then why did the Bush administration embrace it with an offer of assistance? What happened to the idea of a “democratic” Middle East? Egypt doesn’t quite count as a democratic government despite the move in 2005 to have more than one candidate for president (CIA, World Factbook). Perhaps it has something to do with Egypt’s resources (“petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc”) and geography (“controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, a sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea”) (CIA, World Factbook). Or perhaps it is as simple as the Mubaraks (father and son) being seen as “Pro-western” (CRS, 2001) and of “assistance” in the U.S. “war on terrorism.”

Interesting Tid-bits
According to Terrorism Project, Egypt has two active “terrorist” organizations. “Al-Jihad a.k.a Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jihad Group, Islamic Jihad” which is suspected to have close links to al Qaeda and operations in “Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom” and suspected funding from Iran. The other is “Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)” is assumed to be only aimed at the overthrow of the Egyptian government.

Egypt is not on the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. That list only includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria (Libya and South Yemen have been removed). There are also “havens” and “infestations” of terrorism listed by the Council on Foreign Relations. These include Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, and the Palestinian Authority. Interestingly, Lebanon is not on any of these lists despite the presence of Hizbullah.

FAS Intelligence Resource Program: Terrorism: Background and Threat Assessments

National Strategy for Combating Terrorism

Version with active link to World Factbook will not publish, so here is the URL https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/eg.html

Published in: on 10/07/2006 at 1:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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