Monday, February 14, 2005

CIA: Pakistani Nukes Can be Stolen by Terrorists

+ “Countries without nuclear weapons, especially in the Middle East and Northeast Asia, may decide to seek them as it becomes clear that their neighbors and regional rivals already are doing so. “The assistance of proliferators, including former private entrepreneurs such as the AQ Khan network, will reduce the time required for additional countries to develop nuclear weapons. “Concurrently, they can be expected to continue attempting to purchase or steal a weapon, particularly in Russia or Pakistan. Given the possibility that terrorists could acquire nuclear weapons, the use of such weapons by extremists before 2020 cannot be ruled out. We expect that terrorists also will try to acquire and develop the capabilities to conduct cyber attacks to cause physical damage to computer systems and to disrupt critical information networks.+

For the complete 119 Page NIC Report Click here. The Report is in PDF Format

Latest CIA Report says Pakistani Nukes Can be Stolen by Terrorists

WASHINGTON, February 14: Use of stolen or purchased nuclear weapons from Pakistan or Russia by terrorists cannot be ruled out within the next 15 years, the latest CIA report prepared by the prestigious nerve center of strategic thinking in the US intelligence community, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), reveals.

The 119-Page Report is issued every 5 years and was declassified by the CIA in December 2004.

“Terrorists will continue to seek to acquire fissile material in order to construct a nuclear weapon. Concurrently, they can be expected to continue attempting to purchase or steal a weapon, particularly in Russia or Pakistan. Given the possibility that terrorists could acquire nuclear weapons, the use of such weapons by extremists before 2020 cannot be ruled out,” the report titled "Mapping the Global Future: Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project," says. It is available on the CIA's Web site (Link given below). The two previous reports were issued in 1995 and 2000.

To launch the NIC 2020 Project, the NIC brought together some 25 leading outside experts from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds in November 2003 to engage in a broad-gauged discussion with Intelligence Community analysts. Experts of the UN’s Millennium Project, the RAND Corporation’s Center for Longer Range Global Policy, Princeton and other Universities were invited to a series of seminars and conferences, the Report explains.

NIC also surveyed and studied various methodologies and reviewed a number of recent “futures” studies. Besides convening a meeting of counterparts in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to learn their thinking, NIC organized six regional conferences in countries on four continents — one in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore, and Chile, two in Hungary — to solicit the views of foreign experts from a variety of backgrounds — academics, business people, government officials, members of nongovernmental organizations and other institutions — who could speak authoritatively on the key drivers of change and conceptualize broad regional themes.

Numerous organizations and individuals were consulted on the substantive aspects of this study, as well as on methodologies and approaches for thinking about the future, the report said.

The report is a comprehensive overview of what scenarios may develop in the next 15 years and even some nightmare fictional situations have been projected one of which includes the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate and a fictional letter written by the grandson of Osama bin Laden mapping Islamic strategies in year 2020.

The 10-Page Executive Summary of the report says at no time since the formation of the Western alliance system in 1949 have the shape and nature of international alignments been in such a state of flux.

In Asia it predicts although a military confrontation between China and Taiwan would derail Beijing’s efforts to gain acceptance as a regional and global power, we cannot discount such a possibility. Events such as Taiwan’s proclamation of independence could lead Beijing to take steps it otherwise might want to avoid, just as China’s military buildup enabling it to bring overwhelming force against Taiwan increases the risk of military conflict.

“India and Pakistan appear to understand the likely prices to be paid by triggering a conflict. But nationalistic feelings run high and are not likely to abate. Under plausible scenarios Pakistan might use nuclear weapons to counter success by the larger Indian conventional forces, particularly given Pakistan’s lack of strategic depth.”

Other significant characteristics include: the rise of new powers, new challenges to governance, and a more pervasive sense of insecurity, including terrorism. As we map the future, the prospects for increasing global prosperity and the limited likelihood of great power conflict provide an overall favorable environment for coping with what are otherwise daunting challenges

It says the most terrorist attacks will continue to employ primarily conventional weapons, incorporating new twists to keep counterterrorist planners off balance. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they employ but rather in their operational concepts - i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.

One such concept that is likely to continue is a large number of simultaneous attacks, possibly in widely separated locations. While vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices will remain popular as asymmetric weapons, terrorists are likely to move up the technology ladder to employ advanced explosives and unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The religious zeal of extremist Muslim terrorists increases their desire to perpetrate attacks resulting in high casualties. Historically, religiously inspired terrorism has been most destructive because such groups are bound by few constraints.

“The most worrisome trend has been an intensified search by some terrorist groups to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Our greatest concern is that these groups might acquire biological agents or less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause laboratory could well be the size of a household kitchen, and the weapon built there could be smaller than a toaster.

Terrorist use of biological agents is therefore likely, and the range of options will grow. Because the recognition of anthrax, smallpox or other diseases is typically delayed, under a “nightmare scenario” an attack could be well under way before authorities would be cognizant of it.

“The use of radiological dispersal devices can be effective in creating panic because of the public’s misconception of the capacity of such attacks to kill large numbers of people. With advances in the design of simplified nuclear weapons, terrorists will continue to seek to acquire fissile material in order to construct a nuclear weapon.

“Countries without nuclear weapons, especially in the Middle East and Northeast Asia, may decide to seek them as it becomes clear that their neighbors and regional rivals already are doing so.

“The assistance of proliferators, including former private entrepreneurs such as the AQ Khan network, will reduce the time required for additional countries to develop nuclear weapons.

“Concurrently, they can be expected to continue attempting to purchase or steal a weapon, particularly in Russia or Pakistan. Given the possibility that terrorists could acquire nuclear weapons, the use of such weapons by extremists before 2020 cannot be ruled out. We expect that terrorists also will try to acquire and develop the capabilities to conduct cyber attacks to cause physical damage to computer systems and to disrupt critical information networks.

“The United States and its interests abroad will remain prime terrorist targets, but more terrorist attacks might forced, large-scale expulsions of populations—are particularly likely to generate migration and massive, intractable humanitarian needs.”

“Some internal conflicts, particularly those that involve ethnic groups straddling national boundaries, risk escalating into regional conflicts. At their most extreme, internal conflicts can produce a failing or failed state, with expanses of territory and populations devoid of effective
governmental control. In such instances, those territories can become sanctuaries for transnational terrorists (like Al-Qaeda’ida in Afghanistan) or for criminals and drug cartels (such as in Colombia).

Talking about rising powers and possibilities of conflict, the NIC report says: “Even if conflict would break out over Taiwan or between India and Pakistan, outside powers as well as the primary actors would want to limit its extent. Additionally, the growing dependence on global financial and trade networks increasingly will act as a deterrent to conflict among the great powers - the US, Europe, China, India, Japan and Russia.

“This does not eliminate the possibility of great power conflict, however. The absence of effective conflict resolution mechanisms in some regions, the rise of nationalism in some states, and the raw emotions on both sides of key issues increase the chances for miscalculation.

“Although a military confrontation between China and Taiwan would derail Beijing’s efforts to gain acceptance as a regional and global power, we cannot discount such a possibility. Events such as Taiwan’s proclamation of independence could lead Beijing to take steps it otherwise might want to avoid, just as China’s military buildup enabling it to bring overwhelming force against Taiwan increases the risk of military conflict.

“India and Pakistan appear to understand the likely prices to be paid by triggering a conflict. But nationalistic feelings run high and are not likely to abate. Under plausible scenarios Pakistan might use nuclear weapons to counter success by the larger Indian conventional forces, particularly given Pakistan’s lack of strategic depth.

“Should conflict occur that involved one or more of the great powers, the consequences would be significant.

Discussing emergence of new global players the NIC report says: “The likely emergence of China and India, as well as others, as new major global players—similar to the advent of a united Germany in the 19th century and a powerful United States in the early 20th century—will transform the geopolitical landscape, with impacts potentially as dramatic as those in the previous two centuries.

“In the same way that commentators refer to the 1900s as the American Century, the 21st century may be seen as the time when Asia, led by China and India, comes into its own. A combination of sustained high economic growth, expanding military capabilities, and large populations will be at the root of the expected rapid rise in economic and political power for both countries.

“Barring an abrupt reversal of the process of globalization or any major upheavals in these countries, the rise of these new powers is a virtual certainty. Yet how China and India exercise their growing power and whether they relate cooperatively or competitively to other powers in the international system are key uncertainties.

“The economies of other developing countries, such as Brazil, could surpass all but the largest European countries by 2020; Indonesia’s economy could also approach the economies of individual European countries by 2020.”

“By most measures — market size, single currency, highly skilled work force, stable democratic governments, and unified trade bloc —an enlarged Europe will be able to increase its weight on the international scene. Europe’s strength could be in providing a model of global and regional governance to the rising powers. But aging populations and shrinking work forces in most countries will have an important impact on the continent. Either European countries adapt their work forces, reform their social welfare, education, and tax systems, and accommodate growing immigrant populations (chiefly from Muslim countries), or they face a period of protracted economic stasis.

“Japan faces a similar aging crisis that could crimp its longer run economic recovery, but it also will be challenged to evaluate its regional status and role. Tokyo may have to choose between “balancing” against or “bandwagoning” with China.

“Meanwhile, the crisis over North Korea is likely to come to a head sometime over the next 15 years. Asians’ lingering resentments and concerns over Korean unification and cross-Taiwan Strait tensions point to a complicated process for achieving regional equilibrium.

Russia has the potential to enhance its international role with others due to its position as a major oil and gas exporter. However, Russia faces a severe demographic crisis resulting from low birth rates, poor medical care, and a potentially explosive AIDS situation.

“To the south, it borders an unstable region in the Caucasus and Central Asia, the effects of which—Muslim extremism, terrorism, and endemic conflict—are likely to continue spilling over into Russia. While these social and political factors limit the extent to which Russia can be a major global player, Moscow is likely to be an important partner both for the established powers, the United States and Europe, and for the rising powers of China and India.

It says: “China and India are well positioned to become technology leaders, and even the poorest countries will be able to leverage prolific, cheap technologies to fuel—although at a slower rate—their own development.

Discussing new challenges to governance, the NIC says the nation-state will continue to be the dominant unit of the global order, but economic globalization and the dispersion of technologies, especially information technologies, will place enormous new strains on governments.

Growing connectivity will be accompanied by the proliferation of virtual communities of interest, complicating the ability of states to govern. The Internet in particular will spur the creation of even more global movements, which may emerge as a robust force in international affairs.

“In particular, political Islam will have a significant global impact leading to 2020, rallying disparate ethnic and national groups and perhaps even creating an authority that transcends national boundaries. A combination of factors—youth bulges in many Arab states, poor economic prospects, the influence of religious education, and the Islamization of such institutions as trade unions, nongovernmental organizations, and political parties—will ensure that political Islam remains a major force.

“Outside the Middle East, political Islam will continue to appeal to Muslim migrants who are attracted to the more prosperous West for employment opportunities but do not feel at home in what they perceive as an alien and hostile culture.

“Regimes that were able to manage the challenges of the 1990s could be overwhelmed by those of 2020. Contradictory forces will be at work: authoritarian regimes will face new pressures to democratize, but fragile new democracies may lack the adaptive capacity to survive and develop.

“The so-called “third wave” of democratization may be partially reversed by 2020—particularly among the states of the former Soviet Union and in Southeast Asia, some of which never really embraced democracy. Yet democratization and greater pluralism could gain ground in key Middle Eastern countries which thus far have been excluded from the process by repressive regimes.

On the issue of insecurity, the NIC says: “ We foresee a more pervasive sense of insecurity — which may be as much based on psychological perceptions as physical threats — by 2020. “Weak governments, lagging economies, religious extremism, and youth bulges will align to create a perfect storm for internal conflict in certain regions.

“Although a leveling off point has been reached where we can expect fewer such conflicts than during the last decade, the continued prevalence of troubled and institutionally weak states means that such conflicts will continue to occur. Some internal conflicts, particularly those that involve ethnic groups straddling national boundaries, risk escalating into regional conflicts.

“At their most extreme, internal conflicts can result in failing or failed states, with expanses of territory and populations devoid of effective governmental control. Such territories can become sanctuaries for transnational terrorists (such as Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan) or for criminals and drug cartels (such as in Colombia).

On International Terrorism the NIC says: “The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next 15 years. Facilitated by global communications, the revival of Muslim identity will create a framework for the spread of radical Islamic ideology inside and outside the Middle East, including Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Western Europe, where religious identity has traditionally not been as strong.

This revival has been accompanied by a deepening solidarity among Muslims caught up in national or regional separatist struggles, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Mindanao, and southern Thailand, and has emerged in response to government repression, corruption, and ineffectiveness. Informal networks of charitable foundations, madrassas, hawalas, and other mechanisms will continue to proliferate and be exploited by radical elements; alienation among unemployed youths will swell the ranks of those vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

“We expect that by 2020 Al-Qaeda’ida will be superceded by similarly inspired Islamic extremist groups, and there is a substantial risk that broad Islamic movements akin to Al-Qaeda will merge with local separatist movements. Information technology, allowing for instant connectivity, communication, and learning, will enable the terrorist threat to become increasingly decentralized, evolving into an eclectic array of groups, cells, and individuals that do not need a stationary headquarters to plan and carry out operations.

“Training materials, targeting guidance, weapons know-how, and fund-raising will become virtual i.e. online. Terrorist attacks will continue to primarily employ conventional weapons, incorporating new twists and constantly adapting to counterterrorist efforts. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they use but rather in their operational concepts—i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.

Strong terrorist interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons increases the risk of a major terrorist attack involving WMD. Our greatest concern is that terrorists might acquire biological agents or, less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause mass casualties.

Projecting the possible futures scenarios, its says: “In this era of great flux, we see several ways in which major global changes could take shape in the next 15 years, from seriously challenging the nation-state system to establishing a more robust and inclusive globalization.

Four fictional scenarios have been developed in the report which were extrapolated from the key trends discuss in it. These scenarios are not meant as actual forecasts, but they describe possible worlds upon whose threshold we may be entering, depending on how trends interweave and play out:

• Davos World provides an illustration of how robust economic growth, led by China and India, over the next 15 years could reshape the globalization process—giving it a more non-Western face and transforming the political playing field as well.

• Pax Americana takes a look at how US predominance may survive the radical changes to the global political landscape and serve to fashion a new and inclusive global order.

• A New Caliphate provides an example of how a global movement fueled by radical religious identity politics could constitute a challenge to Western norms and values as the foundation of the global system.

• Cycle of Fear provides an example of how concerns about proliferation might increase to the point that large-scale intrusive security measures are taken to prevent outbreaks of deadly attacks, possibly introducing an Orwellian world.

“Of course, these scenarios illustrate just a few of the possible futures that may develop over the next 15 years, but the wide range of possibilities we can imagine suggests that this period will be characterized by increased flux, particularly in contrast to the relative stasis of the Cold War era.

“The scenarios are not mutually exclusive: we may see two or three of these scenarios unfold in some combination or a wide range of other scenarios.”