All posts by Project Alpha

US Adds Pakistan Entities to the End User List

On 15th December, the US Department of Commerce issued an update to its Entity List, adding seven entities in Pakistan which appear to be linked to Pakistan’s missile programme.

The move by the BIS End User Review Committee follows close scrutiny of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes prompted, in part, by a report published by Project Alpha in November. That report had identified most of the entities that were added to the US list on the 15th December as well as up to a dozen more front companies procuring illicit goods on behalf of Pakistan, including front companies thought to act on behalf of the newly designated entities.

The timing of the move is noteworthy. With little over a month to go until the inauguration of President Trump, it is possible that the Obama administration acted to list these entities foreseeing a window in which the move would not necessarily hamper US diplomatic ties with Pakistan. While there are signs that Pakistan is discontent with the US action, the Pakistani government will wish to start fresh with the Trump administration regardless.

It is also notable that the US appears to have focused these additions around entities involved in Pakistan’s missile programme. Given that Pakistan earlier this year applied to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, any move by the US to designate entities connected to Pakistan’s nuclear programme would likely be taken as an overtly political act by the outgoing Obama administration.

The entities sanctioned the US are noted below.

  • Ahad International
  • Engineering Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
  • National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM)
    • Air Weapons Complex (AWC)
    • Maritime Technology Complex (MTC)
    • New Auto Engineering (NAE)
  • Universal Tooling Services

The US announcement can be found here:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/15/2016-30061/addition-of-certain-persons-to-the-entity-list

The public version of the Alpha in-depth Report on Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs can be accessed here: http://projectalpha.eu/research-opens-a-window-into-pakistans-nuclear-weapons-programme/

UNSC adopts Resolution 2325 (2016) after Comprehensive Review of Resolution 1540 (2004)

The UN Security Council on 15 December unanimously approved resolution 2325 (2016), updating resolution 1540 (2004) as a result of a thorough review process – known as the 2016 Comprehensive Review of the Status of Implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) – by member states.

Resolution 1540 imposes binding obligations on member states to adopt legislation to prevent the proliferation of WMDs and establish appropriate domestic controls to prevent their illicit trafficking. As part of its review process, the 1540 group of experts Committee [the Committee] was tasked with assessing implementation of the resolution based on information which included the 1540 approved matrices, as well as inputs from member states and other relevant information provided by intergovernmental and regional and sub-regional organisations. On 9 December, the Committee submitted to the Security Council a report on the conclusions of its review. It found that “while overall progress has been made with the implementation of resolution 1540, there remains more to be done to accomplish the objective of full implementation of the resolution, which is a long-term task that requires continuous efforts at national, regional and international levels.”

Resolution 2325 (2016) urges governments to make greater efforts to comply with the implementation requirements of resolution 1540, and contains a new series of recommendations regarding the work of the Committee, which, it said, had substantially expanded its outreach since its establishment. However, noting a decreasing capacity of the Committee to respond to member states’ requests for assistance, it called on governments to, whenever possible, participate in voluntary contributions and high-quality assistance for capacity-building that would meet national needs for comprehensive implementation of the 1540 regime, including through greater cooperation among all stakeholders, civil society and academia.

While the resolution is helpful in reiterating the requirements of UNSCR1540, it does not contain much that is new other than highlighting a need to redouble efforts towards full implementation and to ensure that the resolution’s requirements are kept up to date with the evolving technological landscape. It is understood that more ambitious proposals had been discussed including, on the one hand, a dedicated provision of capacity building capability and, on the other hand, the creation of a chemical and biological terrorism convention at Russia’s request. However, it seems that agreement could not be reached within the Security Council, which has been politically charged in recent years as a result of re-emerging tensions between Russia and the US/ Europe.

An official statement on the adoption of resolution 2325 (2016) is available here:

https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12628.doc.htm

unscr2231

What is Resolution 2231?

On 20 July 2015, the fifteen members of the UN Security Council unanimously passed Security Council Resolution 2231 (S/RES/2231). This resolution endorses a long-term plan agreed by the international community to provide enhanced international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program and modifications to Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for relief from sanctions.

The full text of Resolution 2231 can be accessed here.

The UN also maintains a website dedicated to UNSCR2231. It can be accessed here.

What is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the long-term plan agreed between Iran and China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, United Kingdom and European Union (known as the P5+1 or E3+3). It contains a detailed set of obligations to be undertaken by Iran and the E3+3 over the next 25 years in order to manage Iran’s nuclear programme, reduce sanctions on Iran, and improve international cooperation between Iran and the E3+3. The JCPOA will also permit Iran to legally purchase equipment for its nuclear programme under what is known as the procurement channel.

The text of the JCPOA can be accessed here.

Who will implement Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA?

Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA place requirements on all parties involved in the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme, and indeed on all other nations. Implementation will be monitored by the United Nations Security Council. The European External Action Service will also play a key role in coordinating the implementation of Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continue to monitor Iran’s obligations under its nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

Check your own back yard: DPRK proliferation links to the UK

While North Korea’s provocative actions show no sign of abating, scrutiny of Pyongyang’s sanctions-busting activities abroad has been focussed on North Korean activities in China, the Middle East and Africa. Dubious North Korean-related activity can be found closer to home, however: an investigation undertaken by John Druce, a researcher affiliated with Project Alpha at King’s College London, has found that associates of North Korean entities appear to maintain front companies in the United Kingdom.

Continue reading Check your own back yard: DPRK proliferation links to the UK

New Alpha case study: examining allegations that Pakistan supplied nuclear-related goods to the DPRK

A series of allegations made in June has re-awakened the issue of Pakistani nuclear cooperation with North Korea. These allegations, published by an Indian news agency, state that Pakistani authorities have continued to supply nuclear-related material to North Korea, in violation of sanctions. Continue reading New Alpha case study: examining allegations that Pakistan supplied nuclear-related goods to the DPRK

New Alpha case study: examining allegations that Pakistan supplied nuclear-related goods to the DPRK

A series of allegations made in June has re-awakened the issue of Pakistani nuclear cooperation with North Korea. These allegations, published by an Indian news agency, state that Pakistani authorities have continued to supply nuclear-related material to North Korea, in violation of sanctions.

Project Alpha sought to substantiate or otherwise the allegations utilising open source information. The purpose of this case study is to set out what steps were taken and what information was validated such that follow-on study might be undertaken, should further information become available that could allow a conclusion to be drawn about the validity of the allegations.

The report can be downloaded from the link below:

20160803_-_dprk_pak_allegation_case_study_-_project_alpha

Alpha In Depth: North Korea’s Proliferation and Illicit Procurement Apparatus

 

Available now to purchase at the Project Alpha page at the King’s College London e-Store

Project Alpha is today releasing the second in a new series of reports – Alpha In Depth. Alpha In Depth reports are intended as comprehensive studies of issues of particular interest to policymakers. They will be available for purchase from Project Alpha.
Continue reading Alpha In Depth: North Korea’s Proliferation and Illicit Procurement Apparatus

US Export Licence Denials 2001-2015

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Alpha In Depth: Iran’s missile industry

Available now to purchase at the Project Alpha page at the King’s College London e-Store

Iran’s missile industry: A baseline study for non-proliferation efforts after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and UN Security Council Resolution 2231

The recently finalised negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme leave Tehran’s missile-related activities a matter of substantial international concern. Under the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, passed on 20 July 2015, international restrictions on Iran’s missile activities and procurement will remain in place for the next eight years. Various UN, European Union and United States sanctions on Iranian missile-related entities will also continue during this time, and most likely beyond.
Continue reading Alpha In Depth: Iran’s missile industry