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When can we discuss Urenco - the Anglo-Dutch-German gas-centrifuge facility which proliferated nuclear know-how through A Q Khan to N Korea, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, iran ?

When can we have more prosecutions of the Dutch and German companies supplying N Korea with components ? When will Germany really clamp down on shipments of stainless steel tubes etc destined for North Korea ?

Why do the Koreans have a German research reactor ?

Hague's all pumped about North Korea and the threat from her nukes. Israel is threatened openly by her neighbours with similar and she took conventional military action. Hague called this 'disproportionate'.

What action does he consider to be proportionate when you are being threatened with nuclear obliteration?

I suppose there are no Islamic votes in taking action against North Korea, and it seems a nice long way away. So it is OK to sound strident.

Hague is getting close to applying double standards. Did he expect Israel not to fight Hizbollah when they are arming with missiles?

He could have said that the collateral casualties inflicted were regrettable. He could also have said what other action Israel might have taken instead of the action they actually took.

What action does Hague consider to be 'proportionate' when it comes to military action against nuclear threat and aggession? It would be interesting to know.

I think you on a different plant to most people Tapestry to try to link Hizbollah to North Korea. Firstly arte you really saying that Hizbollah have nuclear weapons and that their rockets have any of the long range that Nort Korea has.

Sorry for the spelling mistakes Tim in the last message but can anyone really be on the side of North Korea as we all know that other countries who are know in the lunatic fringe will be trying to court Kim with big bucks and that can't be good for anyone. Also was the test for a uranium or plutotuim bomb as that again will be part of the argument of how quickly we got to get to an end game?

As someone noted elsewhere on another blog, given North Korea's track record, it seems a bit late to be calling for these sort of restrictions when they should have been in place ages ago. Will we have similar ex post
facto analyses if other countries we suspect of similar designs go nuclear? As in so many other areas, I feel the Tories lack gravitas in foregn affairs with Cameron leading the party.

Its a good message but there needs to be a consistent foreign policy here.

Peter @ 1025, it is not Hizbollah that has nuclear weapons, it is their Iranian masters who are developing them with the express intention of wiping Israel off the face of the earth. Such missiles launched from Lebanese territory barely a few miles outside Israel (a country the size of Wales) would hardly need any range at all.

It was sad that the Tory leadership was too one-dimensional in its thinking to see that the Israeli attacks which caught civilians in the fire because Hizbollah were hiding behind them, were about so much more than the kidnappings of soldiers or Hizbollah's deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians with rocket attacks. They were about the pre-emptive destruction of Hizbollah in order to stop it firing Iranian nukes on Israel. There is very little that can be called disproportionate when trying to defend yourself from nuclear holocaust.

There are huge parallels between North Korea and Hizbollah.

As regards North Korea, I do agree with TomTom. Who do they get their raw materials from, how do they ship them, and who is complicit in this? A genuine foreign policy rather than a rhetoric on global issues would address this.

Martin at 11.47

I do not believe "the Tory leadership was too one-dimensional". I reckon they fully understood the situation and chose to position themselves accordingly.


They used the word "disproportionate." This word implies that the action was more significant than the security threat demanded it should be. This makes it clear that they did not believe the security threat against Israel to be significant. This, in turn, makes it clear that they did not understand the threat to Israel's very existence.

Unless of course you're saying they did understand it and therefore didn't believe Israel's action was disproportionate at all, but said things they didn't believe in order to curry favour with the media.

So tell me Martin, did the slaughter of Lebanese civilians and destruction of its infrastructure make Israel & the West more safe, and reduce Iran's threat?

If not, then how can you criticise calling it disproportionate, when it has not had the desired effect.

Martin Smith has dealt with the point well, Peter. As for being on another planet, it looks like it might be a helluva lot safer if I was.

North Korea should have been dealt with ages ago. The new Japanese government just elected is providing much of the regional leadership which was lacking previously. That is a great relief as if the whole world depended on American leadership for its future safety, it would not be a broad enough basis.

If China is also in alliance with Japan and the USA, then Asia would be a lot safer place.

The problem of nuclear proliferation into the Middle East is still a burning issue. We could do with the European States like France and Germany waking up and smelling the coffee, and we should not be joining them in their continuing criticism of Israel, but building the alliance against Iran.

The developed countries all face the same threats from terrorism, and we should stand as one. I hope we don't see any more Fix-it and Fudge from Hague.

So tell me Martin, did the slaughter of Lebanese civilians and destruction of its infrastructure make Israel & the West more safe, and reduce Iran's threat?

You are so right ! It was disproportionate it did not have the desired result - the Israelis were too conservative in their use of force because olmert was no Ariel Sharon.

Had the use of force been proportionate it would by definition have dealt with Hezbollah, cowed Syria, and brought Iran to heel. Israel pursued its objectives without focusing their forces and without inflicting severe losses on Hezbollah or Iran.

With rumours of a joint Syrian-Iranian attack on Israel maybe this time they can use devastating force to destroy their adversaries

Now that the North Koreans have gone and actually done it, the Chinese get all sniffy and demand that the UN take action and that sanctions be declared.
For years the Chinese played "honest broker" for North Korea and prevented the US and other nations from taking effective measures against Kim il-Sung's regime. Indeed the Chinese have been the sole provider of aid and support for this paranoid Stalinist state, that has allowed the development of their nuclear weapons, and kept a dictatorship in power.
Now that the Chinese realise the gig's up they are terrified lest North Korea become destabilised and a wave of refugees start streaming over the northern border. Also of course, is the realpolitik, the Chinese have no wish for a further nuclear power in the area, taking away their sole status. Particularly when that nuclear capacity is vested in a nation as paranoid and twitchy as North Korea.
Let us never forget that the father of the present leader, was responsible for launching the attack over the 38th parallel and starting the Korean War, hoping to draw in the Chinese, in a war against the Americans for ultimate victory and control of the Far-East.
The North Koreans are a very strange people, who have been totally brainwashed from birth and for generations and have a very warped sense of the world and inter-governmental relations.
Bear in mind though that the Iranians will be watching very closely how the West handles this problem. It would bode well for the Chinese and Russians to revise the way that they deal with such matters for the future. Does Russia want Iran nuclear capable on its borders?, backing up radical Islamic mischief making in the Stans and elsewhere on its long, exposed and vulnerable border region. The same applies to China, but doubly so.


"Leading-edge [German] technology sold in a completely legal fashion to Russian enterprises and research institutes has been transmitted immediately to Iranian and Syrian workshops manufacturing missiles," Focus said.

Berlin has sent warnings to scores of German firms that Iran and Syria were operating through front groups to obtain technology and material for medium- and intermediate-range missiles. The alert cited Iran's Shihab-3 and Syria's Scud D programs.

The government alert was said to have cited 15 Russian companies and research entities. They included the missile factory in Samara and Moscow's State Technical University, long linked to Iran's Shihab-3 program.


Iran acquired German-origin measuring instruments and propulsion and guidance systems for the Shihab-3, Focus said. The missile, designed to deliver a nuclear warhead, was said to have a range of 2,000 kilometers and could strike southern Europe.

For its part, Damascus has used German technology to modernize Syria's Scud-based missile arsenal. Damascus has based most of its missile program on North Korean and Chinese technology and assistance. The programs have included the Scud C and D missiles, with ranges of 550 and 700 kilometers, respectively.

This was the second disclosure of German assistance to the Shihab-3 program in 2005. In April, three German executives were arrested for supplying Iran with missile-launch technology.

Proportionate would have been actually dealing with Hezbollah. This would have required going in on the ground earlier and heavier.

Bombing infrastructure that didn't belong to the enemey and killing a number of cvilians in the process was stupid.

A fairly large number of Israelis agree with the above position, by the way.

Answer to both Martin and Tapestry.
Firstly the rockets used by Hizbollah are generally regarded as only one step up to fireworks a long way of what even North Korea has.
Secondly you seem to forget that Israel has about 200 bombs themselves but you don't say that they shouldn't have them.
Thirdly your comment on Israel not doing enough shows how much of a hardliner Tom Tom is on the subject.
Finally if its true that it was a Plutonium bomb set off we should do something about it and thats what should be the debate, any suggestions?

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