Russia Moves To Arm
Dangerous States
By Dale Hurd
Senior Reporter
Before the crisis in Kosovo put U-S Russian relations back into the deep freeze, many Americans were starting to get used to the idea of Russia as more of partner in world affairs. But have we been kidding ourselves? There is ample evidence that Russia remains the most dangerous nation on earth.
During the Cold War, it seemed that the world was just a moment away from nuclear annihilation. But its actually in the post cold war world that the real dangers have been unleashed, from a Russia that has lost control of its weapons stockpile...a stockpile that includes deadly biological agents; a weapon so tiny, just grams of it have he killing power of a nuclear bomb.
Ken Alibek knows the danger of the Russian program. Before he changed his name, Kanatjan Alibekov was the number two man in the Soviet Union's Biological Warfare program. Alibek directed the research that perfected an anthrax agent four times more deadly than before"genetically altered, antibiotic resistant. Alibek defected in 1992, and is the author of the book, Biohazard.!"
"We were told that the United States was developing such weapons and Great Britain," says Alibek, "and that our weapons were a response to the United States threat." But the Soviet program dwarfed anything in the west. The Russians developed the capacity to produce hundreds of tons of anthrax, plague, and smallpox--More than enough to kill everyone on the planet.!" Alibek explains the destructive power of just "a medium range plane with two spray tanks; each spray tank, a 2- ton capacity. And just this two tank, medium range plane could cover from 4 to 5 thousand square kilometers. You would never find a nuclear bomb with such capability."
And Alibek alleges that despite Moscow's denials, Russia,s Biological Weapons program is still going.!" "When we are talking about the Ministry of Defense, it still has 4 top secret facilities. All of them were involved in developing and manufacturing biological weapons. It seems to me they are trying just to maintain this program in any form. What form? Of course, we cannot answer this question until we see these facilities opened."
Alibek also says that, during the Cold War, Mikhail Gorbachev ordered preparations for the arming of SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles with biological weapons, to be aimed at American cities. Today the danger is not what the Russians have pointed at us, but what they have likely already sold to some of the most dangerous states in the world.
The Russian Army used to be a fearsome, well-oiled fighting machine. Today it's closer to a rusted out piece of junk. But the disintegration of the Russian Army has not made the world a safer place, because this former military superpower is so broke it can't even make the interest payments on its debt. And when your best export products are dangerous low cost weapons, the solution to your economic problem is, at least for Russian leaders, a no-brainer. !"
"There's a tremendous spring-loaded incentive for anyone running Russia to export lots of risky technology," says Henry Sokolski, weapons proliferation expert in the Bush administration. "Given that militarization, it,s been very, very hard to change to new types of work. And to keep people employed, there has been a tendency to simply tell these industries: find customers. Sell and export."
At the end of the Cold War, the Soviets were transferring abroad over 20-billion dollars in arms a year. After the Soviet crack-up, Russian transfers dropped to only a couple billion a year, but have since rebounded to around 6-billion annually.
And for Moscow, arms sales serve both economic and strategic interests. Radio Liberty Russian analyst Paul Goble: "When you are a power that has lost, you don't have a lot of good choices, if you want to rebuild your power, especially if you don't have many resources. And the first way you can rebuild power internationally is take advantage of all the other countries who don't like the dominant power. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya; if you're an anti-American state, you can be pretty sure the Russians will be trying to form a relationship with you.
Russia has offered sensitive technology to China and Iran, and is secretly working on a multi-billion dollar deal with Syria. Never before see satellite imagery of a chemical weapons plant in Syria, obtained by CBN News, shows the kind of facility that rogue states rely on Russian material and know-how to build. In the signature Russian manner, the CW production facility is right next to a petrol-chemical plant.!"
What kinds of dangerous weapons and technology have already been transferred out of or stolen from Russia? Russian expert Dr. Ariel Cohen at the Heritage Foundation says there is the possibility that enriched uranium, nuclear warheads, and biological agents such as Anthrax, have already been transferred out.. Cohen says, "The Iranians figured it out a long time ago--if they pay off the Russians in Swiss bank accounts, several millions of dollars, for this relatively small bribe, they can buy the crown jewels of the old Soviet military industrial complex, and the Russians will sell."
And not just weapons, but weapons-building know-how. At least 12 nations are suspected of having biological weapons programs, at least some of them, thanks to Russian help. Iran has been recruiting Russian Biological weapons scientists, offering them 5-thousand dollars a month. That's more than some might be paid in a year in Russia. The recruiting has worked. "The odds increase with each passing day that a weaponwill reach the wrong hands and will ultimately be used against the United States or its friends," according to Goble. "The largest reason for that is the disintegration of Moscow's control over the Russian Federation.
For decades, we hoped the Soviets would lose the cold war. But in geopolitics, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.