Clean Up in DesertNew satellite imagery show that a Syrian site believed to have been attacked by Israel last month no longer bears any obvious traces of what some analysts said appeared to have been a partly built nuclear reactor.
"It took down this facility so quickly it looks like they are trying to hide something," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, which analyzed the images.
An image taken Wednesday by a DigitalGlobe commercial satellite shows tractors or bulldozers and scrape marks on the ground where the building stood in photos taken prior to the September Israeli attack. The Syrians reported an attack by Israel in early September; the Israelis have not confirmed that.
Now that the site has been razed, it is going to be harder to figure what was there...
Arms Control Wonk
New York Times
US to begin disabling North Korean nuclear program in three weeksUS experts are to begin disabling North Korea's nuclear weapons arsenal in about three weeks, the State Department said Thursday following talks in Pyongyang.
The timeframe was given by Sung Kim, the head of the US State Department's Korea desk, who completed talks with North Korean officials on the nuclear disablement mission, said Tom Casey, a department spokesman.
North Korea agreed earlier this month to disable key facilities at the Yongbyon complex and declare all other nuclear programs by the end of the year.
In exchange for these actions, China, South Korea, the United States, Japan and Russia would supply North Korea with energy and other aid and offer up diplomatic concessions to the isolated nation. [ via Yahoo! News]
New Doubts for U.S.-India Nuclear Deal[Sorry for all the posts, but I been busy with the 'real' job.]
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has raised new doubts about a nuclear trade deal with the United States, telling President Bush by telephone on Monday night that his government was having "certain difficulties" finalizing it. The agreement is bitterly opposed by Mr. Singh's left-wing allies in Parliament, who maintain his government's majority there and argue against closer ties to the United States. [via New York Times]
Israel-SyriaJeffery weighs in on the recent Israeli attack on 'something' in Syria. As always, a good read @ armscontrol.wonk
Russia plans new nuclear weaponsPresident Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia was working on new types of nuclear weapons as part of a "grandiose" plan to boost the country's defenses.
"We will develop missile technology including completely new strategic (nuclear) complexes, completely new." Putin said in an annual televised question-and-answer session with Russian citizens. "Work is continuing and continuing successfully."
"We have plans that are not only big, but grandiose, they are fully realistic. Our armed forces will be more compact but more effective and better ensure Russia defense," Putin said. [via Yahoo! New]
A Closer Look at China's New SSBNsHans M. Kristensen at the Strategic Security Blog talks about the two new Jin-class SSBNs.
Google Earth & The Trinity SiteIf you did not have a chance to go the Trinity Site for the twice yearly open house, here is the location on Google Earth. They recently updated the imagery of the region and you can clearly see the test site. The imagery has not made it way over to the Google Maps website, yet. Here is the kmz file with it's location.
North Korea to disable nuclear programNorth Korea pledged last Wednesday to detail its nuclear programs and disable all activities at its main reactor complex by the end of the year, its firmest commitment to disarm after decades seeking to develop the world's deadliest weapons.
Under an agreement reached in February, Pyongyang was required to shut down and seal its sole operating reactor at its main nuclear complex, which it did in July after the U.S. reversed its hard-line policy against the regime. The second phase required it to disable the reactor and provide a full description of all its nuclear programs. Wednesday's agreement calls for that to happen by the end of the year.
The North said it would allow the U.S. to lead a group of experts to Pyongyang within two weeks "to prepare for disablement" of its nuclear facilities, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said in Beijing. The U.S. wants the dismantling process to be so thorough that a nuclear facility could not be made operational for at least 12 months.
The United States was secretive about what it promised in return.
The U.S. has agreed to lead disablement activities and provide the initial funding for them. Washington also reiterated its willingness to remove North Korea from a list of countries that sponsor terrorism, a key demand of Pyongyang.
No timetable was set for this action, but a joint statement said it will happen "in parallel with" the North Korean government following through on its commitment. [via Yahoo! News]
China's MFA has the text of the "Second-Phase Actions for the Implementation of the [September 2005] Joint Statement."