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Old November 24th, 2014, 02:59 PM   #1

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Why Exactly Didnt Israel Panic About Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons Program in the 1980s?


Why exactly didn't Israel panic about Pakistan's nuclear weapons program in the 1980s and before? After all, Israel is currently panicking about Iran's nuclear program and was previously panicking about Libya's and Iraq's nuclear weapons programs. Why exactly is the case of Pakistan different? After all, Pakistan is also a Muslim country which does not recognize Israel's existence.

My educated guess in response to this question would be that unlike Iran and previously, Iraq and Libya, Pakistan was a U.S. ally during the Cold War; thus, I am presuming that Israel knew that the U.S. would be unlikely to make a significant effort to prevent Pakistan from obtaining nuclear weapons. In addition, as far as I know, Israel was unable to bomb Pakistan's nuclear sites due to logistics before Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons (which probably occurred in the late 1980s). Finally, I would think that Israel might have believed that the U.S. would have a greater ability to prevent Pakistani nukes from falling into the wrong hands than it would in regards to preventing Iraqi, Libyan, or Iranian nukes from falling into the wrong hands.

Is there anything which I am missing here? Thoughts on this?

Last edited by Futurist; November 24th, 2014 at 03:01 PM.
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Old November 24th, 2014, 04:08 PM   #2

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You are right. Pakistan was (and still is) a key U.S. ally, and it was especially important in the 1980s when it played a critical role in supporting the Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan, who were fighting against the Soviet Union. As such, Israel was in no position to do anything about Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, as the United States (Israel's major ally and sugar daddy) had already given Pakistan tacit approval in acquiring nuclear weapons.
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Old November 24th, 2014, 04:39 PM   #3

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1. Pakistan was a US ally at the time.
2. Too far away from Israel to be a threat.
3. The hostile countries surrounding Israel itself were bigger priorities.
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Old November 24th, 2014, 07:50 PM   #4
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And Pakistan has historically been preoccupied with India. But Pakistan is actually more of a potential danger to Israel than Iran. Israel could face a more serious existential threat from Pakistan if Pakistan is taken over by the Taleban or any sort of fundamentalist Islamic government. And that is always a possibility given the patronage of fundamentalist Islam by Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Agency. Wheras Iran could actually conceivably turn into an Israeli ally if it feels theratened enough by the Islamic State and/ or a fundamentalist Pakistan on it's eastern border. As Shiites, Iranians can be expected to follow their ayatollahs as marja i taqlid (objects of imitation). Even if a Supreme Leader decides that Israel is a lesser evil than Sunni power. Ayatollahs have that much authority in Shia Islam.
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Old November 24th, 2014, 09:28 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by katchen View Post
And Pakistan has historically been preoccupied with India. But Pakistan is actually more of a potential danger to Israel than Iran. Israel could face a more serious existential threat from Pakistan if Pakistan is taken over by the Taleban or any sort of fundamentalist Islamic government. And that is always a possibility given the patronage of fundamentalist Islam by Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Agency. Wheras Iran could actually conceivably turn into an Israeli ally if it feels theratened enough by the Islamic State and/ or a fundamentalist Pakistan on it's eastern border. As Shiites, Iranians can be expected to follow their ayatollahs as marja i taqlid (objects of imitation). Even if a Supreme Leader decides that Israel is a lesser evil than Sunni power. Ayatollahs have that much authority in Shia Islam.
You are right about Pakistan's preoccupation with India. It is India that faces a grave potential threat in the form of a nuclear attack, because of the distinct possibility of the weapons and the delivery systems falling into the hands of pro-fundamentalists in the ISI and the Pakistan Army which actually rule this strife torn unstable country. But Israel cannot be any longer be complacent about this. The fanatics are gaining ground in Pakistan and they just might decide to attack Israel, on behalf of ISIS or the Taleban.
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Old November 26th, 2014, 07:24 AM   #6

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Because the Israelis aren't really panicked about the prospect of Iranians having nukes now as a genuine existential threat. It's about preserving an unstable and impossible to endure nuclear monopoly by one state, which won't work for Tel Aviv any more than it did for Washington.
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Old November 26th, 2014, 09:30 AM   #7

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Originally Posted by Underlankers View Post
Because the Israelis aren't really panicked about the prospect of Iranians having nukes now as a genuine existential threat. It's about preserving an unstable and impossible to endure nuclear monopoly by one state, which won't work for Tel Aviv any more than it did for Washington.
But by that rationale, though, wouldn't Israel have tried to ensure that Pakistan wouldn't build and/or acquire nuclear weapons as well?

Last edited by Futurist; November 26th, 2014 at 10:27 AM.
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Old November 26th, 2014, 11:20 AM   #8

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But by that rationale, though, wouldn't Israel have tried to ensure that Pakistan wouldn't build and/or acquire nuclear weapons as well?
If they really cared about Muslim states having them, yes. That they did not speaks about their real concerns, doesn't it?
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Old November 26th, 2014, 11:28 AM   #9
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According to some journalists, Israel had planned an attack and did a mock up in the Negev. Their planes could not reach Pakistan. India had considered, but finally refused to permit the Israeli Air Force use of their base in Gujarat.
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Old November 26th, 2014, 12:18 PM   #10

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Israel geopolitical area end's at Iran's border w/ Pakistan. Besides all the reasons mentioned (US ally, India as the biggest threat, etc.)
Still I can imagine a future where Pakistan starts to be a threat to westernized middle east, but I also can imagine a full fundamentalist Pakistan being a threat to West. But those two scenarios are very very imaginative.
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