"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Author, "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement
July 1, 2020
Press Releases

New U.S.-Israeli Strategic Dialogue Announced; Israel Acquires New Submarine

Howard Diamond

HINTS OF ISRAEL'S normally hidden nuclear deterrent surfaced twice in July, first with the announcement of a new mechanism for U.S.-Israeli strategic dialogue, and then with the arrival in Israel of a new German-built submarine capable of providing a secure second-strike capability. Though neither of the two events was explicitly nuclear-related, their high profile was clearly intended to warn potential Israeli adversaries, such as Iran and Iraq. Long believed to be the only Middle Eastern country with nuclear weapons, Israel faces a security environment changed by Tehran's July 1998 test of its 1,300-kilometer-range Shahab-3 missile and Baghdad's continued success in preserving parts of its weapons of mass destruction programs in defiance of the UN Security Council.

On July 19, after meeting with new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, President Clinton announced the creation of a new U.S.-Israeli Strategic Policy Planning Group to consider ways to "bolster Israel's indigenous defense and deterrent capabilities, as well as the bilateral cooperation to meet the strategic threats Israel faces." Clinton said the new group would report directly to himself and Barak every four months. According to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, the agenda for the group will include "Israel's security requirements...ways and means of assuring and increasing Israel's deterrent power by supplies of modern technologies and weapons systems…[and] a broad mandate to discuss joint strategic planning, over and above any other similar bilateral forums currently in existence."

The new strategic dialogue mechanism supersedes a joint planning committee created in October 1998 to secure Israeli acceptance of the Wye River Memorandum, a key step in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A memorandum of agreement signed October 31, 1998 by President Clinton and then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed the United States to "enhancing Israel's defensive and deterrent capabilities and upgrading the strategic and military relationships, as well as technological cooperation between them." The October agreement also said that the United States "would view with particular gravity direct threats to Israel's security arising from the regional deployment of ballistic missiles of intermediate range or greater. In the event of such a threat, the United States government would consult promptly with the government of Israel with respect to what support, diplomatic or otherwise, or assistance it can lend to Israel."

The joint consultative group established in October 1998 met twice but failed to make much progress, allegedly due to the sensitivity of the topics being discussed and the size of the two delegations. The new group will include only three or four "senior representatives" from each side, half as many as the previous effort. The strategic dialogue will be paralleled by a new Defense Policy Advisory Group meant to coordinate Israeli military planning with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Together with the new modes of consultation, President Clinton announced his intention to restructure U.S. aid to Israel by phasing out economic aid while increasing U.S. military assistance by one-third to $2.4 billion per year. The president said he would seek an additional $1.2 billion from Congress to subsidize Israeli military redeployments called for under the Wye River agreement and would request funding for a third battery of Israel's Arrow theater missile defense system.

Submarines and Deterrence

The July 27 arrival in Israel of the first of three Dolphin-class diesel-electric submarines may indicate further maturation of Israel's suspected nuclear arsenal. While refusing to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since the 1960s, Israeli officials have maintained that they would not be the first to "introduce" nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Although a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Israel has refused to accept international safeguards on its Dimona reactor facility, which is believed to house a plutonium reprocessing plant. At the submarine's acceptance ceremony in Haifa, Barak said the Dolphin (the first of class) and its two sister ships would "change the entire face of the [Israeli] navy and the long-arm capabilities of Israel."

Germany agreed to pay for two-and-a-half of the three $300 million Dolphin-class submarines in 1991, after the role of German companies in supporting Iraq's chemical weapons program became public. Israel's initial contract for the subs was canceled in 1989 for budgetary reasons. The Dolphin has 10 torpedo tubes (six 533-millimeter and four 650-millimeter) and can carry surface-to-surface missiles or torpedoes. Israel, which already produces several types of unmanned aerial vehicles and air-launched cruise missiles, is widely believed to be technically capable of building a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). The larger-diameter torpedo tubes would also provide additional flexibility to Israeli designers seeking to develop a long-range nuclear-capable SLCM.

In the past, senior Israeli officials have made statements suggesting the new submarines will have a nuclear role. In a 1995 interview with Ha'aretz, David Ivry, the director-general of the Ministry of Defense, suggested Israel needed a strategic deterrent force with a "second-strike" capability. Major General Avraham Botzer, former chief of the Israeli navy, said in a 1990 interview with Israeli television, "Submarines all over the world serve as part of the deterrent system against non-conventional warfare. They are a way of guaranteeing that the enemy will not be tempted to strike pre-emptively with non-conventional weapons and get away scot-free."

Based on plutonium production estimates, Israel's nuclear arsenal is thought to range from 75-130 weapons, including warheads for its 50 mobile 660-kilometer-range Jericho-1 missiles and an estimated 50 1,500-kilometer-range Jericho-2 missiles. The Israeli air force is also believed to be nuclear capable, and Israel's recent acquisition of 25 F-15Is and announced purchase of 50 F-16Is have emphasized extended range as a key performance criterion.

Israel, Syria Seek Arms

Wade Boese

WHILE PROSPECTS OF reviving the stalled Middle East peace process appeared to have received a boost with the May 17 election of Ehud Barak as Israel's new prime minister, both Israel and Syria looked to strengthen their militaries in July. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad reportedly explored resuming arms buys from Russia, its long-time supplier, during a July 5-6 trip to Moscow. Less than two weeks later, Barak told U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, in a long-awaited decision, that Israel would use U.S. military aid funds to purchase 50 F-16I fighter jets, with an option for 60 more.

In his first visit to Russia since 1991, Assad met with President Boris Yeltsin and other top defense and arms officials. Damascus, which owes Moscow at least $11 billion for past Soviet arms purchases, wants to upgrade its largely outdated weaponry by purchasing advanced aircraft, tanks and anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. However, no discussions or deals were publicly confirmed.

The U.S. State Department said on July 6 that it was "very concerned" about possible Russian arms deals with Syria, a country Washington classifies as a state-sponsor of terrorism. U.S. law proscribes appropriation of Foreign Assistance Act funds for governments that export "lethal military equipment" to countries designated as state-sponsors of terrorism. However, in March, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright waived that provision for $90 million in financial assistance to Moscow, despite Russia's sale of anti-tank missiles to Syria. Instead, Washington imposed sanctions on three Russian companies involved in the deal. (See ACT, March 1999.)

On his first U.S. visit as Israeli prime minister, Barak informed Cohen on July 16 that Israel would purchase 50 F-16I fighters for $2.5 billion. As part of the deal, Israel can opt to buy 60 more for $2 billion within two years of signing the contract. Delivery of the fighters would start approximately 42 months after contract signature, expected later this year.

Israel has received 260 F-16s of various models and already has the largest fleet of F-16s in the world after the United States. This will be the first sale to Israel of the F-16I model, which will be equipped with additional fuel tanks to allow for extended range, as well as updated avionics and cockpit displays.

Lockheed's F-16I prevailed over Boeing's F-15I in the Israeli fighter competition, partly because approximately 25 percent of the F-16I package will be supplied by Israeli companies. Moreover, the F-15 costs roughly twice as much as the F-16, and the F-15's advantage of being a long-range fighter, its most attractive feature, was overcome by the addition of the extra fuel tanks on the F-16I.

The F-16I fighters will be bought with funds from Israel's annual U.S. military aid package of more than $1.86 billion. In a July 19 joint statement by President Clinton and Barak, the two leaders said that, subject to congressional approval, the annual military aid package will grow to $2.4 billion over the next decade as U.S. economic assistance is phased out.

Clinton further agreed to fund Israel's acquisition of a third Arrow battery to counter tactical ballistic missiles and to expand U.S.-Israeli cooperation on developing new anti-ballistic missile technologies and systems. Clinton repeated past pledges that Washington was committed to maintaining Israel's qualitative security edge.

Details of a separate $1.2 billion military aid package for Israeli implementation of the Wye River Memorandum, which calls for a partial Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, were also worked out. Both houses of Congress, however, opted in August not to include any funds for implementing the Wye accord in their foreign aid bills.

India Releases Nuclear Doctrine, Looks to Emulate P-5 Arsenals

Howard Diamond

LAYING THE FOUNDATION for an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear warheads deployed at high-alert levels on missiles, aircraft and ships, India released its first draft nuclear doctrine on August 17. (See factfile.) Produced by the 27-member National Security Advisory Board, the six-page document has not been formally adopted by the current caretaker government, and was released "in favor of greater transparency in decision-making" by Brajesh Mishra, the Indian prime minister's national security advisor. The United States, which has been pressing India and neighboring Pakistan to restrain their nuclear competition since their tit-for-tat nuclear weapons tests in May 1998, expressed disappointment with the draft doctrine, terming it a move "in the wrong direction." Pakistani officials have warned that if put into practice, the positions laid out by India will stoke the existing arms race in South Asia.

Doctrine Released

At a press conference before releasing the document, Mishra emphasized the voluntary constraints New Delhi has already accepted on its nuclear arsenal. India, he said, has adopted a "no-first-use" policy and has pledged to never use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state. New Delhi's nuclear weapons are not "country-specific," Mishra said, and are meant only to provide "minimum but credible deterrence." Mishra also emphasized two points made in the draft doctrine: that India's nuclear weapons are under "civilian control," and that India remains in favor of complete nuclear disarmament, its nuclear plans notwithstanding.

The new doctrine, however, focuses not on limits, but on the substantial new capabilities that India needs to provide "insurance against potential risks to peace and stability" and to guarantee New Delhi "autonomy of decision-making." Calling for a nuclear policy of "retaliation only," the draft doctrine urges India to acquire "survivable" nuclear forces; "robust" command and control mechanisms; and space-based early-warning, communications and damage-assessment systems. Reflecting the terminology of existing nuclear arsenals, the doctrine calls on India to develop an "integrated operational plan" for nuclear use and a "triad of aircraft, mobile land-based missiles and sea-based assets." India's nuclear weapons should be able to shift from "peacetime deployment to fully employable forces in the shortest possible time" and be able to "retaliate effectively" following a first-strike, the doctrine concludes.

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh was quoted by The Times of India on August 20 as downplaying the stature of the arsenal being proposed in the draft doctrine. "We are not in the arms race," Singh said. "We are not for reinventing the acronyms and phraseologies of the Cold War-era." Singh told CNN on August 18 that "there is no need for anyone to fear from what is after all a discussion paper."

Bharat Karnad, a member of the National Security Advisory Board and one of the lead drafters of the proposed doctrine, said in an August 22 interview with The Times of India that his research has shown that an arsenal of 350 to 400 nuclear weapons and associated support systems would cost India $17-$177 billion spread over 30 years. According to the CIA, India's gross domestic product in 1997 was $1.534 trillion, with annual growth estimated at about 5 percent. Karnad said the draft doctrine was a consensus document that had been prepared between January and June. He offered no explanation as to why the document had been released only three weeks before Indians go to the polls to choose a new government

International Responses

Pakistan's government, already shaky from India's recent success in expelling Pakistani fighters from the disputed Kashmir region, has responded to the Indian draft with alarm. Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed said on August 19 that while "Pakistan does not want a nuclear arms race in South Asia....Pakistan cannot afford to ignore the security implications of India's new doctrine...." The day before, Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan's own nuclear doctrine is in the final stages of development.

On August 19, at the 66-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram accused New Delhi of using U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to pass false assurances on to Pakistan. Akram claimed India's "false promises" regarding its willingness to accept limits on "the deployment and operationalization of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems" were meant to "persuade Pakistan to accept one-sided commitments." Akram also asserted that India's new doctrine "would negate several measures for mutual restraint which were identified at the Lahore Summit." (See ACT, January/February 1999.) Warning that development of India's nuclear arsenal would be accompanied by a concurrent buildup of conventional weapons, Akram said Pakistan would be forced "to intensify [its] reliance on its nuclear capabilities to deter the use or threat of aggression or domination by India."

State Department spokesman James Rubin said August 17 that the United States knew India was preparing a nuclear doctrine but had not been given a copy of the draft prior to its public release. The Clinton administration, he said, "will continue [its] efforts to de-nuclearize the Subcontinent" and to push India and Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Faced with criticism that the high-level dialogue between Talbott and Singh did not seem to be producing results, Rubin said Talbott's diplomacy had produced some "limited success," and cited India's moratorium on further nuclear testing and its commitment to work toward signing the CTBT by September.

Washington Disappointed

The United States is still pressing India and Pakistan to improve their export control systems, to accept a moratorium on fissile material production pending negotiation of an international fissile material cut-off treaty, and to engage in a sustained bilateral security dialogue with each other, Rubin said. "[W]e think it would be unwise to move in the direction of developing a nuclear deterrent and encouraging thereby the other country to develop a nuclear deterrent and thereby creating an action-reaction cycle that will increase the risks to both countries," he said. "We think at the end of that process, the security of [both countries] will be worse off...."

White House, Key Senators Intensify Push for CTBT

Craig Cerniell

IN LATE JULY, the White House and a bipartisan group of nine influential senators stepped up their efforts to secure U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before early October, when a special conference on ways to facilitate the accord's entry into force will be held in Vienna. In addition to arguing that the treaty would slow nuclear proliferation and bolster international security, the senators, led by Byron Dorgan (D-ND), released new polling data illustrating the American public's overwhelming support for a worldwide ban on nuclear testing.

Despite this renewed push for ratification, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) continued to block action on the CTBT. In a July 26 letter he reiterated that the Foreign Relations Committee would not schedule hearings on the treaty until the Clinton administration has submitted—and the full Senate has voted on—the 1997 amendments to the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Unless the administration can strike a deal with Helms or Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), there is little chance that the test ban will be ratified. Such an outcome would put the United States, which took the lead in negotiating the CTBT, in the embarrassing position of having to attend the special conference as only an "observer."

Appearing in the Rose Garden on July 20, President Clinton once again expressed his support for the CTBT and urged the Foreign Relations Committee to hold hearings on the treaty this fall. In making the case for U.S. ratification, he said, "America already has stopped nuclear testing. We have, today, a robust nuclear force and nuclear experts affirm that we can maintain a safe and reliable deterrent without nuclear tests. The question now is whether we will adopt or whether we will lose a verifiable treaty that will bar other nations from testing nuclear weapons."

Just hours later in a press conference on Capitol Hill, seven Senate Democrats and two Republicans echoed the president's call for U.S. ratification. Referencing the Cox Report, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) argued that a ban on nuclear testing would make it more difficult for China to utilize any nuclear design information that it may have acquired through espionage. Moreover, argued Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the Senate must give its advice and consent to the CTBT if the United States is serious about reducing the nuclear danger in South Asia. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)—who accused Helms and Lott of "acting irresponsibly"—claimed that the United States would be making "the single biggest mistake in American foreign policy and defense policy that this generation could make at the closing hours of this century" if the Senate did not approve the treaty.

Also on July 20, Dorgan released a letter, signed by all 45 Democratic senators, urging Helms to promptly conduct hearings on the CTBT. "If the United States is to maintain its leadership role and convince other countries to forego nuclear weapons tests, the full Senate must be given the opportunity to consider ratification of the CTBT before [the special conference] begins," they wrote.

To support their rhetoric, the nine senators released new polling data demonstrating the American public's unambiguous support for the test ban. The polls, which were commissioned by the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and conducted June 18-21 by The Mellman Group (a Democratic polling firm) and Wirthlin Worldwide (a Republican polling firm), revealed that 82 percent of the public believes the United States should ratify the CTBT. The support is bipartisan and regionally consistent across the United States. According to the data, 86 percent of those identifying themselves as Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans favor U.S. ratification, as do 84 percent of those living in the Northeast, 80 percent of those in the Midwest, 84 percent of those in the South and 77 percent of those in the West.

Support for the CTBT is solid even when recent allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are taken into account. Only 17 percent of those polled agree that "it is irrelevant for the U.S. to ratify and encourage global implementation of the CTBT because this treaty will not stop China from improving their nuclear technology and developing new weapons." The vast majority (84 percent) believe that the United States could better protect itself against nuclear threats from other countries if it had an international treaty banning nuclear weapons test explosions rather than if it resumed such testing itself.

Helms Responds

As expected, Helms continued to show little enthusiasm for the CTBT. "I note your distress at my floccinaucinihilipilification of the CTBT," he replied in a July 26 letter, using an 18th-century word for dismissiveness. In the letter the chairman reiterated his demand that the Clinton administration submit two unrelated sets of agreements to the Senate, stating, "[I]t has been 801 days since President Clinton agreed to legally-binding language requiring that he submit to the Senate amendments to the ABM Treaty for its advice and consent. The continued adherence by the U.S. to the legally-defunct ABM Treaty is a perilous obstacle to the United States' building and deploying a missile defense to protect the American people from a nuclear holocaust." The administration has pledged to submit the ABM amendments to the Senate after the Russian Duma has ratified START II, and to submit the Kyoto Protocol once there is greater participation from developing countries.

Despite Helms' intransigence, momentum for CTBT ratification continued to build. Taking advantage of the recent furor associated with the Cox Report, nine prominent nuclear weapons experts, including Hans Bethe and Richard Garwin, argued in a July 30 letter to Lott that Senate approval of the CTBT "would greatly help to protect the United States against the weaponization of stolen nuclear secrets."

"Whatever information on thermonuclear weapons China may have obtained, it is implausible that Beijing would deploy weapons that incorporate this information without first conducting nuclear explosive tests outlawed by the CTBT," they wrote.

In a report released August 4, the Tokyo Forum, a group of independent experts brought together by Japan to discuss ways to thwart nuclear proliferation and promote disarmament, also urged the United States and other key holdouts to ratify the CTBT. (See document.)

Five days later, Clinton repeated his call for Senate advice and consent and pointed out that the treaty enjoys the support of General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as four former chairmen: Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell and David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe. It remains to be seen whether the administration will be able to force a Senate floor vote on the test ban in time to permit U.S. participation in the special conference, scheduled for October 6-8.

Chinese Strategic Plans Move Forward With Missile Test

Howard Diamond

CHINA'S STRATEGIC MODERNIZATION plans took an important step forward August 2 with the first successful flight test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), known as the Dong Feng (DF)-31. The 8,000-kilometer-range, three-stage, solid-fuel missile had previously undergone only static tests. The test flight, reportedly covering the 2,000 kilometers from Wuzhai (Shanxi Province) to Lop Nor (Xinjiang Province), was announced in a one-sentence press release from China's official Xinhua news agency.

According to John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists, the missile has had several engine tests on the ground. The first test in April 1992 and the second test were both failures ending in explosions, Pike said. However, six successful tests have followed since, including a soft-launch ejection, or "tube" test. According to Stanford scholars John Wilson Lewis and Hua Di, China has been working on the DF-31 since January 1985 and plans on modifying it for use as the Julang (JL)-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Beijing has already used this method to deploy the twin 1,800-kilometer-range, land-based DF-21 and submarine-based JL-1.

With an estimated payload of 700 kilograms, the DF-31 could be used to deliver multiple warheads if China were to develop light-weight nuclear devices. A select congressional committee led by Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA) reported in May that China had stolen design information on the advanced U.S. W-88 warhead and that it would probably "exploit elements of...stolen U.S. thermonuclear weapons designs on its new ICBMs currently under development." The Cox panel's report said that with a 1999 flight test the DF-31 could be deployed by 2002.

An intelligence community damage assessment prompted by the Cox Report judged that "China has had the technical capability to develop a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)...for many years but has not done so." The assessment also concluded that "U.S. information acquired by the Chinese could help the development of a MIRV for a future mobile missile."

But a U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity said, "We still judge [the DF-31] to be a one-warhead missile; the Chinese haven't made the technical strides needed to MIRV it."

Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon said on August 3 that there was no evidence that the Chinese missile employed any stolen U.S. technology. Bacon said that, depending on the numbers deployed, the DF-31 "does not give them a significantly enhanced military capability."

If deployed in eastern China, the DF-31 would be able to reach significant portions of the western United States. Analysts, however, believe the mobile DF-31 is meant to replace China's current force of 20 liquid-fueled, 4,750-kilometer-range DF-4s, which are thought to be targeted at Russia, India and U.S. bases in the Pacific.

Coming amid growing tensions between China and Taiwan, and prominent efforts by the United States, Japan and South Korea to prevent North Korea from testing a new long-range missile, State Department spokesman James Rubin sought to downplay the test flight's significance. Explaining that Washington had anticipated the launch for some time, Rubin said on August 3, "China already has long-range missiles, and therefore the fact that they've tested a new missile is not a dramatic new development that requires massive effort and diplomacy to try to deter." Rubin also noted, "We do not have any basis to conclude that the timing of the launch is linked to the issues with Taiwan."

Belgrade to Abide by Sub-Regional Arms Control Agreement

Wade Boese

NEARLY ONE MONTH after withdrawing its armed forces from Kosovo, Yugoslavia pledged on July 19 to resume its implementation of the June 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, which Belgrade suspended one week after the start of NATO's 78-day bombing campaign in March. Countries in the region, including Yugoslavia, are also now expected to renew talks on building a "regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia" as called for under Article V of the 1995 Dayton peace accords.

The sub-regional agreement caps the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that each party to the agreement can possess. Weapons limits for Yugoslavia (comprised of Serbia and Montenegro), Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were set according to a 5-2-2 ratio based on the size of their respective populations. Bosnia-Herzegovina's limits were further divided between the Bosnian Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska on a 2-1 basis. The agreement calls on all parties to annually exchange information and permit inspections of their holdings.

As a first step in renewing its participation in the agreement, Yugoslavia is expected to provide updated information on its weapons holdings in early September. With conflicting reports by NATO and Belgrade regarding Yugoslav weapons losses during the 11-week war in Kosovo, it is unclear how much lower the forthcoming figures will be than those Yugoslavia provided in its last report in December. Prior to the war, Belgrade had the maximum number of weapons allowed in each of the five categories.

Any weapons reductions claimed by Belgrade will need to be verified by the other parties to the agreement. For example, if Belgrade claims 50 fewer tanks, then evidence of 50 destroyed tanks must be provided. Once verified, Belgrade would then be permitted under the agreement to replace its losses—up to its weapons ceilings—if it so chooses. Any future weapons acquisitions by Yugoslavia, however, are also dependent upon the lifting of the March 31, 1998 UN arms embargo.

Discussions on resuming implementation of the sub-regional agreement, including inspections, and on how to verify Yugoslavia's pending data submission are anticipated to take place at a September 16 meeting of the parties. Yugoslavia has said it will attend, but Republica Srpska may not in response to the August 25 arrest in Vienna of its army chief of staff, General Momir Talic, on war crimes charges for his role in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Belgrade's interest in complying with the sub-regional agreement stems in part from a desire to improve its standing in Europe and possibly gain readmission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). While Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia are all OSCE members, Yugoslavia's membership has been suspended since July 1992. The fact that the Yugoslav army's 1997 modernization plan, "Model 21," was developed with the sub-regional agreement in mind further encourages adherence to the agreement. Implementation of the sub-regional agreement is also viewed as a necessary step for the so-called Article V negotiations, which Belgrade has strongly supported as a means to formalizing ties with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania—neighbors with which it has uneasy relations.

Preliminary Article V talks have focused on transparency and on confidence- and security-building measures rather than on weapons limits. French Ambassador Henry Jacolin, OSCE special representative for the talks, has said he would like to see progress by the OSCE's November summit in Istanbul, Turkey. The first Article V meeting since February is scheduled for September 6, and approximately 20 countries, including the United States, are expected to attend.

Washington Again Ranks as World's Top Arms Supplier

Wade Boese

IN AN ARMS MARKET characterized by growing supplier competition for fewer major weapon sales, the United States again topped all countries in both world arms sales agreements and deliveries for 1998. Washington, according to an annual Congressional Research Service (CRS) report dated August 4, also led in conventional weapons deals and exports to developing world countries.

Despite low oil prices and regional economic crises, 1998 global arms sales agreements rose to nearly $23 billion from the 1997 mark of $21.4 billion—the lowest total during the eight years covered in the CRS report, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1991-1998 by Richard F. Grimmett. (All figures in constant 1998 dollars.) In the post-Cold War arms market, the highest value of new deals was $37 billion in 1993 when many countries launched modernization programs after the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War.

For the sixth time in the past eight years, Washington ranked first in value of deals signed, with agreements worth $7 billion (roughly 31 percent of total). Germany, on the strength of large co-production contracts with Spain for tanks and Malaysia for offshore patrol vessels, was next with $5.5 billion in new deals.

Russia saw its 1998 agreements drop by almost half from 1997 to $1.7 billion, the lowest Russian total in the post-Cold War arms market. With the key exceptions of China and India, many of Moscow's traditional clients lack the necessary cash for purchases or are turning to other suppliers because of realignment with the West or a loss of faith in Russia's ability to reliably supply spare parts and support services.

With implementation of post-Gulf War arms deals winding down, worldwide weapons deliveries dropped from the post-Cold War high of $37.7 billion in 1997 to $29.8 billion in 1998. As in the previous seven years, the United States shipped the most weapons, $10.5 billion worth, around the globe. This figure excludes U.S. commercial arms deliveries, which Grimmett leaves out because the data are incomplete. He does note, however, that the State Department has reported commercial arms deliveries for fiscal years 1991 through 1998 as falling from $1.6 billion to $151 million. The United States is the only country with two separate arms export systems.

France ($6.5 billion) and the United Kingdom ($5.3 billion) rounded out the top three suppliers. China registered its lowest delivery total ($600 million) in eight years, though Grimmett notes that Beijing could pose an "important problem" with sales of advanced missile systems to volatile areas.

Developing world countries—all states except the United States, Russia, European nations, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand—accounted for $13 billion (57 percent) of the agreements and $23 billion (77 percent) of the deliveries. Saudi Arabia, described by Grimmett as being in "significant financial straits," ranked first in agreements ($2.7 billion) and imports ($8.7 billion). Since 1991, Saudi Arabia has become the largest developing world arms importer, with nearly $68 billion in weapons receipts, easily outdistancing Taiwan at $20 billion.

Ranking first in 1998 agreements ($4.5 billion) and deliveries (nearly $8 billion) to the developing world was the United States. France, which ranked first in 1997 agreements, followed with $2.4 billion in agreements and over $6 billion in deliveries.

As in the last few reports, Grimmett predicts that the overall arms trade will remain static in the foreseeable future and that most future weapons deals will cover upgrade and maintenance of previously sold equipment and systems.

U.S., Ukraine Extend CTR Program

Craig Cerniello

THE UNITED STATES and Ukraine agreed in late July to extend their participation in the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program for another six years. This development came as Moscow and Kiev appeared to have finally reached a compromise on the disposition of a number of heavy bombers left on Ukrainian soil following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Created in November 1991 by former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the CTR program assists the former Soviet Union with the destruction and dismantlement of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and supports efforts to prevent their proliferation. In October 1993, Washington and Kiev signed an "umbrella agreement" that established a legal framework upon which such activities could be carried out in Ukraine. Recognizing that this arrangement was set to expire next year, the United States and Ukraine agreed on July 31 to extend the CTR umbrella agreement until December 31, 2006. The United States renewed a similar agreement with Russia, the largest recipient of CTR aid, in mid-June. (See ACT, June 1999.)

During fiscal years (FY) 1992-1999, the United States provided a total of $2.7 billion in CTR assistance to the former Soviet Union, $569 million of which went exclusively for projects in Ukraine. The conference report to the FY 2000 defense authorization bill—completed on August 5 but not yet approved by President Clinton—contains $475.5 million in new funds for the program, including $41.8 million for the continued elimination of strategic nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

According to the January 1999 START I Memorandum of Understanding (the latest official data available), Ukraine possesses 44 SS-24 ICBMs, 25 Bear bombers and 18 Blackjack bombers. To comply with START I, which entered into force in 1994, Kiev must either destroy these weapons systems or remove them from accountability (e.g., by transferring the bombers to Russia or converting them so that they may no longer perform nuclear missions) by December 2001.

The CTR program has had impressive successes in Ukraine. It was instrumental in helping Ukraine become a nuclear-weapon-free state in June 1996, when the last of an estimated 1,900 strategic warheads inherited from the Soviet Union was safely returned to Russia. More recently, in February, CTR assistance enabled Kiev to complete the elimination of 130 Soviet-era SS-19 ICBMs, as required by START I. Specifically, Ukraine destroyed 111 missiles, 130 missile silos and 13 launch control centers; 19 missiles were returned to Russia.

Bombers for Gas

In a related development, Colonel General Anatoly Kornukov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, said on August 19 that an agreement had been reached in principle under which Ukraine will transfer eight Blackjack bombers and two Bear bombers to Russia in September as a partial payment on its natural gas debt. Moscow believes that, with repairs and upgrades, these aircraft will be operational until 2015-2020.

Previous attempts by the sides to conclude a bomber deal fell apart, largely because of a disagreement over the price. Russia claims that Ukraine owes approximately $1.8 billion for past natural gas deliveries, while Kiev maintains that the debt is closer to $1 billion. The value assigned to each bomber under the deal remains unclear.

Clinton Signs Controversial NMD Legislation

Craig Cerniello

ON JULY 22, President Bill Clinton signed into law the highly contentious "National Missile Defense [NMD] Act of 1999," sponsored by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). Despite claims by some congressional Republicans that the United States is now obligated to field an NMD system, Clinton stated on July 23 that his signing of the legislation should not be interpreted as a final decision on deployment. Rather, he reiterated that the decision will be made next year based on four criteria: technological readiness, the maturity of the "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

The bill (H.R. 4) states, "It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective [NMD] system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate) with funding subject to the annual authorization of appropriations and the annual appropriation of funds for [NMD]." The legislation also says that "it is the policy of the United States to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces."

Cochran, along with Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), initially introduced the NMD legislation in March 1998, but it twice failed to reach the Senate floor by one vote, first in May and again in September of that year. However, the July 1998 release of the Rumsfeld Commission report on the long-range missile threat to the United States, North Korea's subsequent test of the Taepo Dong-1 missile and Secretary of Defense William Cohen's January 1999 announcements on the restructuring of the U.S. NMD program gave congressional enthusiasts all the ammunition they needed to force a floor vote on the bill.

The Clinton administration opposed the original version of the legislation because it made NMD deployment contingent on just one factor: the effectiveness of the technology. After the adoption of two amendments on arms control and funding procedures, however, the White House dropped its veto threat and the legislation sailed through the Senate on March 17 by an overwhelming 97-3 margin. The House approved the amended bill on May 20 and it became law with Clinton's signature on July 22.

In his statement on H.R. 4, Clinton made clear that the United States is not obligated to deploy an NMD system today. "By specifying that any NMD deployment must be subject to the authorization and appropriations process, the legislation makes clear that no decision on deployment has been made. This interpretation, which is confirmed by the legislative record taken as a whole, is also required to avoid any possible impairment of my constitutional authorities," he wrote.

In deciding whether to deploy a limited NMD system in June 2000, Clinton stated that the United States will "review the results of flight tests and other developmental efforts, consider cost estimates, and evaluate the threat" and will also "review progress in achieving our arms control objectives, including negotiating any amendments to the ABM Treaty that may be required to accommodate a possible NMD deployment." The United States and Russia held "discussions" on the ABM Treaty and START III in Moscow August 17-19.

U.S., Russia to Begin 'Discussions' on START III, ABM Treaty

Craig Cerniello

HOPING TO RESTART their interrupted strategic dialogue, the United States and Russia held face-to-face meetings in June at the Group of Eight summit in Cologne, Germany. During talks, both sides agreed to press for ratification of START II and to hold dual-track "discussions" later this summer on both START III and possible amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. The Clinton administration is expected to make an NMD architecture decision in the coming months so that it can determine what specific treaty amendments deployment would require. However, a decision on whether to deploy an NMD system will not be made until June 2000.

Although no major breakthroughs on arms control were achieved at the June 18-20 summit, the "Joint Statement Between the United States and the Russian Federation Concerning Strategic Offensive and Defensive Arms and Further Strengthening of Stability" (see document) is significant because it indicates that both nations are now prepared to resume an agenda that had been essentially frozen during the 78 days of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia.

In their June 20 statement, the United States and Russia reiterated their strong commitment to the START II ratification process. Although the Senate gave its advice and consent in January 1996, the Russian Duma has not yet approved the treaty. A long-awaited vote on START II had been scheduled for April 2, but it was quickly shelved after NATO began its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia on March 24.

By late June, however, START II was showing new signs of life. On June 21, Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov said the treaty would be on the agenda for the fall session, which begins in September. Two days later, the Duma approved legislation guaranteeing funding for Russian strategic nuclear forces through 2010. Previously, Roman Popkovich, chairman of the Duma's defense committee, had argued that this bill was a prerequisite to START II ratification.

The Cologne statement also reaffirms U.S. and Russian readiness to negotiate START III. At the March 1997 Helsinki summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin reached an agreed framework for such a treaty, under which the United States and Russia would deploy no more than 2,000-2,500 strategic warheads each by the end of 2007 and would adopt measures promoting the irreversibility of deep reductions. The United States has reiterated its willingness to begin formal negotiations on START III, which has already been the subject of expert-level discussions, as soon as the Duma ratifies START II.

ABM Discussions

With respect to strategic defenses, the United States and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to the ABM Treaty and noted their obligation under Article XIII "to consider possible changes in the strategic situation that have a bearing on the [treaty] and, as appropriate, possible proposals for further increasing [its] viability." In a June 20 White House briefing, National Security Adviser Samuel Berger said that the Cologne statement "is very significant because for the first time the Russians have agreed to discuss changes in the ABM Treaty that may be necessitated by a [NMD] system were we to decide to deploy one." However, agreement to hold discussions on the ABM Treaty does not mean that Russia has endorsed amendments allowing for NMD deployment. Consistent with earlier statements, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said June 23 that U.S. NMD plans are "dangerous" and have the potential to upset strategic stability.

The Cologne statement also emphasizes the importance of the September 1997 package of strategic agreements signed in New York. These agreements extend the START II implementation period by five years, clarify the demarcation line between strategic and theater missile defenses and identify the successor states to the former Soviet Union under the ABM Treaty. (See ACT, September 1997.) The Cologne statement notes that the United States and Russia "will facilitate the earliest possible ratification and entry into force of those agreements." In his briefing, Berger restated the administration's position that it would not submit the strategic package to the Senate until the Duma has ratified START II.

Other Developments

The joint statement also recognizes the importance of the September 1998 U.S.-Russian agreement to share early-warning information on the worldwide launches of ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles. (See ACT, August/September 1998.) Efforts to implement this long-term sharing arrangement, as well as efforts to establish a temporary joint early-warning center in Colorado Springs to deal with the Year 2000 computer problem, have been on hold as a result of the NATO air strikes. Edward Warner, assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction, said June 28 that the United States hopes to "re-engage" Russia on these issues in the near future.

At Cologne, the sides also agreed to continue the dialogue under the Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, co-chaired by Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin. The Gore-Stepashin Commission, which conducts business on a broad range of issues, including arms control, will meet July 27 in Washington. Gore and then-Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov were scheduled to meet in late March, but the meeting was postponed because of the Kosovo conflict.

HOPING TO RESTART their interrupted strategic dialogue, the United States and Russia held face-to-face meetings in June at the Group of Eight summit in Cologne, Germany. During talks, both sides agreed to press for ratification of START II and to hold dual-track "discussions" later this summer on both START III and possible amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. The Clinton administration is expected to make an NMD architecture decision in the coming months so that it can determine what specific treaty amendments deployment would require. However, a decision on whether to deploy an NMD system will not be made until June 2000. (Continue)


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