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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Far too much of the analysis of Iran's search for nuclear weapons treats it in terms of arms control or focuses on the potential threat to Israel. In reality, Iran's mix of asymmetric warfare, conventional warfare, and conventionally armed missile forces have critical weaknesses that make Iran anything but the hegemon of the Gulf. Iran's public focus on Israel also disguises the reality that its primary strategic focus is to deter and intimidate its Gulf neighbors and the United States – not Israel. It has made major progress in creating naval forces for asymmetric warfare and developing naval missiles, but it has very limited air-sea and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (IS) capabilities. It lacks modern conventional land, air, air defense and sea power, has fallen far behind the Arab Gulf states in modern aircraft and ships, and its land forces are filled with obsolete and mediocre weapons that lack maneuver capability and sustainability outside Iran. Iran needs nuclear weapons to offset these facts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Walter H. Shorenstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Meeting after North Korea had raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula in the spring, participants in the Tenth Korea-U.S. West Coast Strategic Forum focused on the implications for the Korean Peninsula of leadership changes in North and South Korea and especially China. Participants also focused on regional dynamics, including increased confrontation between China and Japan and various, sometimes conflicting, efforts to increase regional economic integration in Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Israel, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: China tolerates the nuclear ambitions of North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK) for now because its interests in the neighbourhood are much wider and more complex than this single issue. Beijing and the West often work toward their shared goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula with contradictory approaches that reflect their different priorities. The West uses diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and extended deterrence to pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program. Many Western policymakers believe the DPRK will denuclearise if sufficient costs are imposed and that Beijing holds the keys because the North is economically dependent on it. But China is reluctant to take any coercive action that might destabilise the regime and change a delicate geopolitical balance. It instead continues with diplomatic engagement and economic cooperation as the instruments it hopes will cause the leadership to denuclearise in the indeterminate future.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, North Korea
  • Author: Siegfried S. Hecker
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for International Security and Cooperation
  • Abstract: North Korea announced on April 2, 2013, that it would restart its nuclear facilities, including its 5 megawatt-electric (MWe) nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, north of the capital, which had been disabled and mothballed since an agreement in October 2007.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, North Korea
  • Author: Erik Beukel
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The divided Korean peninsula is a flashpoint in the regional security complex in East Asia. The central issue is the threat posed by North Korea and how to meet it. After a review of North Korea as an international actor and of two important incidents in 2010 (the sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan and North Korea's shelling of the South Korean coastal island of Yeonpyeong), the rationality underlying the country's military efforts is considered. South Korea's Nordpolitik is reviewed and the rise and decline of its sunshine policy and the role of its alliance with the United States is described. Two non-Korean great powers, China and the United States, are important actors in the region, and their relations with North Korea, goals and priorities, and implementation strategies are outlined. The report concludes with reflections on the potential for changing the present security complex, which is marked by a fear of war, into a restrained security regime, based on agreed and observed rules of conduct.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Communism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Korea, Island
  • Author: Mariano Aguirre
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The debate about the Iranian nuclear programme has heated up over recent months, with the danger that the situation could get out of control and violence may erupt. Currently, the main threatis an escalation of violence between Iran and the U.S. Strategically, an attack will further decrease U.S. legitimacy in a region already in turmoil and will isolate Israel even further. The consequencesof these processes are both serious and unpredictable.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Scott Snyder, Marcus Noland, Bonnie S. Glaser, Contributor: Stephan Haggard
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The accession to power of a new leader in North Korea has not increased the prospects for denuclearization. Hints that Kim Jong-un might experiment with agricultural and economic reforms are not accompanied by any suggestion that he is considering abandoning the country's nuclear weapons program. On the contrary, all signs point to North Korea's staunch determination to advance the nuclear program while undertaking efforts to compel the international community to recognize it as a nuclear weapons state. Given the growing urgency of the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons development, it is essential to consider new ways to persuade Pyongyang to freeze, reverse, and eventually eliminate its nuclear capabilities
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Israel, Korea
  • Author: Liviu Horovitz, Roland Popp
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: A scheduled conference to promote a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East has renewed hopes for nuclear disarmament in this unstable region, if only innovative diplomacy could take advantage of the current shifts. However, a realistic assessment suggests that optimism is unwarranted. Fundamental strategic considerations related to Iran's nuclear program, Israel's atomic options, and the region's ingrate security architecture remain nearly insurmountable hurdles. Therefore, policymakers should focus first on attaining a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Dirk Nabers, David Shim
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Within international discourses on security, North Korea is often associated with risk and danger, emanating paradoxically from what can be called its strengths—particularly military strength, as embodied by its missile and nuclear programs—and its weaknesses—such as its ever-present political, economic, and food crises—which are considered to be imminent threats to international peace and stability. We argue that images play an important role in these representations, and suggest that one should take into account the role of visual imagery in the way particular issues, actions, and events related to North Korea are approached and understood. Reflecting on the politics of visual representation means to examine the functions and effects of images, that is what they do and how they are put to work by allowing only particular kinds of seeing. After addressing theoretical and methodological questions, we discuss individual (and serial) photographs depicting what we think are typical examples of how North Korea is portrayed in the Western media and imagined in international politics.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, North Korea
  • Author: Massimiliano Fiore
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The latest IAEA Report suggests that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon capability. Preventing the Islamic Republic from becoming nuclear is the most important issue on Israel's agenda, and Jerusalem will do everything it can to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear capability. Considering the limited impact of international sanctions and covert operations, it is therefore possible that at some point in the next 12-15 months Israel's policy-makers and military officials will decide whether or not to act militarily to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. Though the probability of successfully destroying all of Iran's nuclear targets is not very high, Israeli policy-makers and military officials would nevertheless still be extremely satisfied with delaying Iran's nuclear programme. But would it be worth all the trouble it would inevitably unleash? While Israeli fears are understandable, given the heavy costs and poor chances for success of the military option, containment still represents the most sensible policy for Israel.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel