Pakistan’s Precedent-Setting Role in Today’s Nuclear Problems, and Israel’s Attempts to Counter It

With Iran on its way to obtaining nuclear weapons—perhaps regardless of whether a deal is concluded in Vienna—it may well be up to the Jewish state to stop it. Israel already prevented both Iraq and Syria from obtaining nuclear weapons with now well-documented airstrikes. So far, it has reportedly favored clandestine measures to slow the Islamic Republic’s path to the bomb. Oved Lobel calls to attention to new information about another covert campaign, in the 1980s, to nip Pakistan’s nuclear program in the bud—which came close to using bomber jets as well:

If Israel’s efforts to halt [the Pakistani nuclear] network had succeeded, not only would Pakistan have been stopped from getting nuclear weapons, but in all likelihood, so too would North Korea—while Iran’s ongoing nuclear program would never have gotten off the ground, and the same can be said for the abortive nuclear programs of Libya and Syria.

Israel planned a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities at Kahuta around the same time as the bombing of Osirak, [the location of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, in 1981]. Since 1981, India had been planning a strike against Kahuta to halt the weapons program, and in 1983 Indian officials secretly travelled to Israel to purchase electronic-warfare equipment to overcome Pakistan’s air defenses around the facility. After threats by Pakistan, Israel offered to launch the strikes from two Indian airbases, an operation which then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed off on in March 1984. The U.S., however, leaked the plans to Pakistan and put extreme pressure on Israel, which backed down.

U.S. complicity, across political parties and administrations, supported Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons program. . . . The Pakistanis, primarily out of anti-American and Islamist ideological zeal with a touch of financial desperation, gave the Iranians centrifuges, enrichment plant plans and reportedly even weapons designs. . . . Pakistan also reportedly began training Iranian nuclear scientists.

By pretending the nuclear issue did not exist as an irritant in the relationship, the U.S. was able to forego sanctions on Pakistan and partner with it in Afghanistan, first against the Soviet Union and then against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, issues it prioritized over nuclear proliferation. This would prove to be a fatal error of judgement, as Pakistan’s double game in Afghanistan—where it was the key backer of the Taliban and also protected al-Qaeda—would ultimately lead to a transnational terrorism campaign against the West and eventually the 2021 retreat of the U.S. from Afghanistan—delivering the country straight back into the hands of the Taliban.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Nuclear proliferation, Pakistan

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion