Pakistan sold nuclear tech to China

Interestingly, China was one of the first beneficiaries of Khan the Centrifugist’s new uranium enhancement techniques, the New York Times reports.

Mr. Albright, who is the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, an arms control group in Washington, has concluded that China was an early recipient of Pakistan’s designs for centrifuges. China had used an antiquated, expensive process for enriching uranium, and the technology Dr. Khan held promised a faster, cheaper, more efficient path to bomb-making.

According to one hypothesis, Dawood Ibrahim’s Dubai-based criminal network was used as part of Pakistan’s nuclear supply chain well into the 1990s explaining for Musharraf’s reluctance to extradite him.

The intercepted shipment came from Dubai, a place of great importance in Dr. Khan’s secretive world. It was a Dubai middleman claiming to represent Dr. Khan who in 1990, on the eve of the Persian Gulf war, offered Dr. Khan’s aid to Iraq in building an atom bomb. And it was a Dubai middleman whom Dr. Khan blamed for supplying centrifuge parts to Iran, said a European confidante of Dr. Khan’s who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

For now the world is left watching a terrifying race — one that pits scientists, middlemen and extremists against Western powers trying to intercept, shipload by shipload, the technology as it spreads through the clandestine network. Mr. Bush remains wary of cracking down on a fragile Pakistan, for fear pressure could tip the situation toward the radicals

If Musharraf’s pact with the MMA is anything to go by, the self-same radicals have much more power in Pakistan than ever before. Could’nt a more intelligent approach have been to coerce Musharraf to make his peace with the secular opposition parties of Benazir Bhutto? The failure of the Bush administration to guide Pakistan towards a democratic national reconciliation could well be the Achilles heel of its Pakistan policy.