Leaked Memos Show Concern Over Pakistan’s Nuclear Materials
Pakistan Denies Nuclear Materials Accessible to Terrorists
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari looks during a parliamentary meeting in Sri Lanka on Nov. 29, 2010. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)
The fallout from the WikiLeaks release of secret State Department documents continues with new revelations about U.S. fears over Pakistan’s nuclear materials — and the possibility of terrorists gaining access to them. Pakistan has dismissed the contents of cables from 2009 in which then-ambassador Anne Patterson voiced concern over Pakistan’s supply of highly enriched uranium. The issue underscores the fragile nature of the U.S.-Pakistani alliance. Despite aggressive counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan remains a safe haven for Taliban leadership.
The cables also show insecurity over Pakistan’s leadership and fears of a coup. President Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s widower, reportedly told Vice President Joe Biden in 2009 that he was afraid Pakistan’s intelligence agency “will take me out.”
Iran Agrees to Nuclear Talks; Doubts Cast on North Korean Missiles
Analysts now say that it is unclear whether 19 long-range missiles were transferred from North Korea to Iran, or that they are operational, according to The Washington Post. There was indication in leaked cables that a handful of North Korea’s missile, known as the Musudan, had been sold to Iran and that the weapons could potentially reach targets in Western Europe.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is attending as meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Kazakhstan, said she was “encouraged” by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that Iran will return to nuclear talks, scheduled to take place next week in Geneva. The talks, which include U.S., China, Russia, France and Britain, had previously resulted in a 2009 agreement under which Tehran would give up enriched uranium for a research reactor. Iran has since been subject to sanctions over its ongoing nuclear program.
Egypt’s Ruling Party Sweeps Parliamentary Elections
The National Democratic Party picked up a majority of seats in the first round of Egyptian elections on Nov. 28, effectively excluding the country’s leading opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood. The NDP, which is the party of President Hosni Mubarak 209 of 508 seats in Parliament; the rest will be decided in a runoff election on Sunday.
Mubarak, who has been president for nearly three decades, is believed to be setting the stage for one of his sons to succeed him. The Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928 and is country’s most prominent opposition group, is not officially recognized by the Egyptian government.
Fed to Release Report on Bailout Funds
The Federal Reserve is slated to release a report Wednesday showing how more than $2 trillion in bailout money given as loans to banks and financial institutions was used. The disclosures come at a time when the Fed has been heavily criticized over its response to the financial crisis, most recently a $600 billion stimulus package earlier this month.