Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek

(Ph.D. Ben-Gurion University) Former senior analyst in IDF military intelligence and the Prime Minister’s Office. Specializes in WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) proliferation in the Middle East and North Korea. Email: [email protected]

Lockheed Martin’s Compact Fusion Reactor

Lockheed Martin recently registered a patent on a revolutionary design of a Compact Fusion Reactor (CFR), a mobile device small enough to be mounted on a truck. One version is designed to produce 100 megawatts, enough to power a city of 100,000 people. The CFR, which provides clean energy without producing radioactive waste, has both civil and military applications. In principle, it can be installed on large aircraft carriers, submarines, large transport planes, and probably also fighter jets and large drones. If Lockheed Martin’s hopes are realized, the fear of global energy scarcity will become a thing of the past, and mankind will have the benefit of an environment unsullied by energy pollution.

0

The Palestinian Authority Joins the Chemical Weapons Convention

The recent admittance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) borders on the absurd. The PA has no access to chemical weapons technology and is not threatened by chemical weapons. Nor did it ever condemn the Halabja chemical weapons massacre of Iraqi Kurds by Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1988 or the multiple chemical weapons assaults on civilians by Bashar Assad’s regime during the Syrian Civil War. If anything, the PA’s admittance to the OPCW is another step in the Palestinian campaign to win recognition from international organizations that can then serve as additional fora through which to censure Israel. Next, the PA might attempt to be accepted as a member of international nuclear organizations and conventions.

0

Is Iran Considering Reactivating Uranium Enrichment at Fordow?

On April 29, satellite imagery showed irregular activity at Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment facility, arousing suspicion that Iran is preparing to resume its activities. The Iranians had indeed threatened to do this if President Trump followed through on his plan to quit the 2015 nuclear agreement (the JCPOA). However, the unusual activity might simply be steps towards converting the facility to a civil research center for nuclear energy and physics, which would comply with the JCPOA.

0

Is Japan Considering Joining the Nuclear Arms Race?

In 2017, Pyongyang’s nuclear threat turned real, and the countries of East Asia – mainly Japan – and the US could be targets. Japan now faces a dilemma over how to deal with the threat: should it count on the US nuclear umbrella, or should it build up an independent military nuclear capability of its own?

0

Israel’s Intelligence Contribution to US Security: The Cold War Years

Israel and the United States have a long history of close intelligence cooperation. Israel made a unique and particularly valuable contribution by shedding fresh light on Moscow’s nuclear-equipped intercontinental ballistic missiles threatening the US.

0

Egypt’s Nuclear Deal with Russia

The long-term agreement recently signed between Russia and Egypt to build a nuclear power plant at El-Dabaa is aimed at improving Egypt’s electricity sector and has no direct implications for the development of nuclear weapons. It is, however, likely to legitimize any future attempt by Egypt to build a uranium-enrichment or nuclear-fuel-reprocessing facility. While Egypt has already gained significant experience in the nuclear field, neither its plans to develop a civilian nuclear power plant nor its efforts to develop nuclear weapons have yet borne fruit.

0

The Iraq War’s Intelligence Fiasco 14 Years On: The WMDs That Never Were

The rationale for the 2003 Iraq War was the American intelligence community’s assessment that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing nuclear weapons. This assessment proved a colossal failure, as no trace of nonconventional weapons was ever found in Iraq. Though the overthrow of Saddam’s cruel totalitarian regime was nevertheless worthwhile, domestic pressure led the US to quickly withdraw its forces from Iraq – resulting in many American casualties and preventing the establishment of a stable pro-Western regime.

0

The Puzzle of the North Korean ICBM

Uncertainty remains about North Korea’s technological maturity and ability to launch nuclear warheads that could hit the US homeland, even after its recent success at launching the Hwasong-14 missile and the conducting of its most powerful nuclear test yet. The first-stage engine of the Hwasong-14 is a critical component in its possible operation as an intercontinental ballistic missile, but there are questions about how Pyongyang came by this engine, how many it possesses, and whether or not it can produce them on its own. These uncertainties are troubling not only with regard to North Korea, but also with regard to Iran. They have sobering implications about the possibility of monitoring and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction worldwide.

0

The Fragility of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement

Despite President Donald Trump’s disapproval of the JCPOA agreement with Iran, which he promised during his election campaign to “rip up,” he has been persuaded by his advisers to recertify it. He has also, however, gotten the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran as a penalty for developing nuclear missiles, supporting terror, and undermining international order. The Iranian leadership responded with a threat to quit the JCPOA and renew uranium enrichment at a high level. Though the IAEA has not yet determined that Iran has violated the agreement, Western experts view Iran’s behavior as problematic. They fear Iran could break the rules and renew its nuclear weapons program, and that it will be encouraged to do so by North Korea’s provocative stance toward the US.

0

Is It Zero Hour? Pyongyang’s Nuclear Power Is Developing at a Dizzying Pace

Tensions between the US and North Korea, which greatly increased following North Korea’s two ICBM launches on July 4 and July 28, are now near the boiling point. North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, which it conducted on September 3, seemed to indicate that it has reached an advanced capability to develop nuclear weapons. Despite Kim’s provocations and concern that Pyongyang’s military power will reach a point of no return, one cannot confidently predict that President Trump will risk a ground offensive. Nor, however, does it appear that the war of words is having any effect on Kim. Trump may have to order an operation to destroy North Korean strategic targets from the air.

0