Victor Gilinsky writes: Israel is absorbed with a “submarine scandal” that centers on improprieties in the award of a billion-dollar contract under which Israel would acquire three new advanced German submarines. (Germany has already delivered five of the subs, on a previous contract for six.) It came to light that the prime minister’s personal lawyer was on the payroll of the submarine builder, ThyssenKrupp. Then it turned out that Iran, which figures heavily in the motive for getting the submarines, owns 4.5 percent of ThyssenKrupp and so would gain a profit from their sale. On top of that, there is a Lebanese connection to the German builder, too. But the real scandal is that Germany supplies the submarines at all, and does so through a loophole in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Everyone who pays attention to the subject understands that the submarines are built to carry long-range Israeli cruise missiles armed with nuclear weapons.
The German news magazine Der Spiegel laid out the details in a six-part 2012 series. The missiles’ range is about 1,500 kilometers, which brings Tehran within reach from the Mediterranean. As if to erase any doubts, in greeting the arrival of the latest submarine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would be equipped with “advanced” Israeli systems that would be “used first and foremost to deter our enemies who strive to extinguish us. They must know that Israel is capable of hitting back hard against anyone who seeks to hurt us.” German government claims that they know nothing about the submarines’ nuclear role are more than a little ridiculous.
The United States has repeatedly insisted that it is committed to strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Here is a good place to begin. While the treaty prohibits nuclear weapon states (that is, the US, Russia, Britain, China, and France) from aiding any other state in obtaining nuclear weapons, and it prohibits the treaty’s non-nuclear weapon state members from receiving such aid, it does not specifically prohibit these other members from providing nuclear weapon-related assistance, including aid to non-members India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan, all of which now have nuclear weapons. [Continue reading…]