KNOW YOUR ENEMY
by Arnaud de Borchgrave
March 18, 2005
WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- "Nuclear Pakistan terrifies the world and this serves Pakistan well." So spoke retired Gen. Hamid Gul, a former head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, on the eve of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's arrival in Pakistan.
Gul is an admirer of Osama bin Laden, a friend of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, and A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal who sold nuclear weapons know-how to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Gul, who hates the United States with a passion, is also promoting Khan, Pakistan's most popular living legend, as a natural successor to President Pervez Musharraf.
In his capacity as "strategic adviser" to MMA, Pakistan's coalition of six Islamist extremist political parties, Gul appeared on two consecutive days on the popular Pakistani satellite television network ARY ONE to hammer home his nuclear thoughts:
-- Iran should continue its quest to become a nuclear power by enriching uranium to weapons-grade quality.
-- Muslim countries and smaller countries should develop nuclear capabilities to thwart America's aggressive policies.
-- It is only Pakistan's nuclear capability that is preventing war between India and Pakistan.
-- If Iraq had possessed nuclear weapons, the U.S. would not even have thought of attacking Iraq.
-- The largest uranium enrichment plant is in Pakistan.
-- Khan is a "Moshin," or "bestower," of Pakistan. Thanks to him Pakistan is the only nuclear Muslim country in the world.
-- Nuclear Pakistan terrifies the world and this serves Pakistan well.
-- Knowledge and technology cannot be prevented from traveling anywhere. It is like air, which can go in any direction.
The United States is still being denied direct access to Khan to pin down an exact accounting of the nuclear knowledge he passed on to the "Mullahocracy" in Iran. He first began visiting Iran's atomic energy agency in the mid-1980s. He has made a number of trips to Iran since then.
Khan ran a clandestine nuclear black market for two decades. These secret activities made him one of Pakistan's wealthiest men. Following repeated complaints from the United States, Musharraf, then chief executive before he made himself president, relieved Khan of his official nuclear responsibilities and made him a private adviser. Musharraf also told his U.S. interlocutors he knew nothing of Khan's clandestine activities and the United States had no proof to back up its allegations.
In late 2003, then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage confronted Musharraf with detailed accusations of Khan's secret proliferation activities. Musharraf still claimed it was news to him, which stretches credulity, as he was army chief of staff prior to staging a coup in October 1999. Khan frequently traveled on Pakistani military aircraft.
Khan was allowed to go free and keep his nuclear black market gains in exchange for a public apology on television -- in English. The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis speak only Urdu.
U.S. attempts to have direct access to Khan to find out exactly what he did to assist Iran's nuclear ambitions have been rebuffed by Musharraf. During Rice's first visit to Islamabad, Musharraf agreed to submit to Khan a detailed list of questions about his secret work in Iran. But direct access was still denied.
Published Washington Times 25 March 2005