"Osama bin Laden may soon have his hands on three Agosta 90B next-generation stealth submarines capable of carrying sixteen sea-to-land cruise missiles each. Those missiles can deliver atomic warheads. And Osama, I suspect, will have access to the forty nuclear warheads constructed by Pakistan.
Washington and New York, two primary targets for Al Qaeda, are near bodies of water from which these nuclear-tipped missiles can be launched. So are many other major American cities.
Here are the skeletal details:
In 1994, DCN, the government-owned company that builds France's naval vessels, agreed to help the Pakistanis build and learn to operate a rather amazing shipyard. It was a next-generation facility building next-tech, Agosta 90B stealth submarines. As of today two of these subs have been built and a third is scheduled for launch by 2006.
Each Agosta 90B is able to carry sixteen Harpoon Stand-Off Land Attack cruise missiles. According to the Pakistani Navy Captain Iftikhar Riaz Qureshi, who commanded both of these subs in their test phases, Pakistan purchased its Agosta 90Bs to provide itself with 'second strike nuclear capability.' Qureshi's words imply that from day one, Pakistan's intention has been to tip these missiles with atomic warheads. And guess what? Since Pakistan tested its first nuclear bomb in 1998, every nuclear device it's made has been a missile warhead.
According to Defence Journal, Pakistan's subs have a range of close to twelve thousand miles…they can travel to the Hudson River or the Chesapeake Bay, unleash their missiles on New York and Washington, then still be able to take refuge in mid-ocean, lay low and threaten other world capitals with a similar fate.
The United States operates a network of hydrophones scattered all over the Atlantic and Pacific seabed. We are listening for subs like these. But we may not be able to hear them. The Pakistani subs use a methanol-and-liquid-oxygen engine bedded on a suspension system that quiets its purr to a whisper. We may not be able to detect their silent running beneath the sounds of zebrafish fanning their tails.
Many a Pakistani would love to see the nuclear destruction of America's key cities. Pakistan has one of the most violently fundamentalist and anti-American populations of any of the world's 57 Islamic states. And that's saying something.
From 1979 to 1995, Pakistan was the headquarters for a group of 'Afghan freedom fighters' who were not Afghans at all. They were an international army paid for by the US, Saudi Arabia, and China, armed by the CIA, and trained, in part, by China's Peoples Liberation Army. We trained an army of 50,000 men from 30 nations to bring down the Soviet Union's most advanced tanks, jets, and helicopters. Why? Our mutual goal was to embarrass a common enemy--the Russians. Chief among the recruits to our proxy Jihad were Osama bin Laden and the founding members of Al Qaeda.
Pakistan is the nation whose citizens rioted in the streets in 1989 over the title of a novel they didn't like--The Satanic Verses. It was Pakistan's street activists who forced the Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a Fatwa offering five million dollars to the Moslem who killed Salman Rushdie. The Pakistanis were more extreme than the most extremist Islamic leader of his day. And that was fifteen years ago! Since then anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism has grown.
Pakistan is also the nation that educated a generation of Afghan refugees who later went home to take over their country in the name of Islamic purity and justice. We know those refugees as the Taleban.
Today Osama bin Laden is one of Pakistan's two biggest pop-culture heroes. The other is 'The Father of the Islamic Bomb', Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. Khan and Osama have reportedly met in Afghanistan. Khan is the weapons expert. Osama is the weapons user.
Many a Pakistani militant fundamentalist cell identifies itself as an Osama ally. One of the strongest among these Osama-loyalists is arguably Pakistan's most popular leader, Fazlur Rahman Khalil, the man who told 60 Minutes that: 'God has ordered us to build nuclear weapons.'
On the other hand, the base of Pakistan's military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, is a slender reed. According to Syed Adeeb, head of Information Times, a militant Pakistani press outlet based in the National Press Building in Washington DC, 'an Urdu-language letter written by Pakistan Army officers on a Pakistan Army letterhead and sent to many members of the Pakistan Parliament' calls, 'Pervez Musharraf and his clique…a band of thieves and looters…imposed on this nation' by the United States.
Musharraf has been the target of at least five assassination attempts. The latest took place the very day Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003. Yet only he stands between Osama and the Islamic submarines. Only Musharraf stands between Osama and the cruise missiles Pakistan's subs can carry. And only Musharraf stands between Osama and the 40 or more nuclear warheads Pakistan has built since it exploded the first Islamic atomic bomb.
Which means that only Pervez Musharraf stands between Osama and what bin Laden, in a January 2004 speech broadcast on Al Jazeera, called, 'a surprising blow…one that…due to its magnitude…will change the international balances of powers….'
Here's what I strongly suspect is Osama's dream endgame: Nuke a few key cities in the United States. Blind and devastate the Great Satan. Then watch while France, Germany, Italy, and England capitulate. Capitulate to what? To Osama's dream, his passion, his vision of truth and freedom--to a global Islamic caliphate.
I want a world of peace. So do you. But until our understanding of ourselves goes a good deal farther, we have to face the fact that we live in a world of violence. If we pledge to remain non-violent, those who've declared themselves our enemies and who love 'death more than you love life' will chuckle at our weakness…and use it to cheer their comrades on to new atrocities. They will fight the battle of the faithful and the good--the fight for what Osama calls 'justice, manners, and purity'-the battle for the truth of God's messenger. They will assert the truth expressed by an al-Qaeda-allied author, Seif Al-Din Al-Ansari, that we live on an 'speck of dust called Planet Earth.' They will use our reticence to make the mother of all wars. And it will not be environmentally friendly."
Source: Howard Bloom
Osama bin Laden - Wikipedia
Hunting Osama bin Laden - CNN
Supernova: Fighting networked wars - Red Herring
Pakistan - Wikipedia
Submarine - Wikipedia
How Submarines Work - Howstuffworks
National Reconnaissance Office - Wikipedia
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency - Wikipedia
Peace Is War - Wired
Fighting The Network War - Wired
How to Stop Nuclear Terror - Foreign Affairs
Divided We Stand - Wired
Stopping Loose Nukes - Wired
Future Suitcase Nuke attacks - TimeBomb 2000
Bizarre Facts From Deception Point - Dan Brown
Inside soviet military intelligence - Viktor Suvorov