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.
Engineering Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM)
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:
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is a major threat to international peace and security. Detecting the financing of proliferation (FoP) can assist in combating WMD, but it is difficult and requires a better understanding of FoP typologies. Typologies can assist governments in implementing sanctions on WMD programs and disrupting proliferation networks. They can also help the private sector to identify information on FoP that should be passed to governments, and to remain compliant with sanctions. Continue reading Study of the Typologies of the Financing of Proliferation (STFoP)→
To explore ways to strengthen the partnership between the UK and India on strategic nuclear issues, Project Alpha of King’s College London, together with the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in India organised a two-leg dialogue during the first quarter of 2016. The sessions were attended by scholars, practitioners and officials from the two countries, who explored a number of relevant topics in order to build common understanding and identify opportunities to further strengthen the relationship between the UK and India.
The first event, held at the Royal Society for the Arts in London on January 18th to 19th 2016, focused on common interests and areas for collaboration, strategic challenges and stabilities, non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, as well as India’s entry into the export control regimes. The second event was held at the IDSA office in Delhi on March 1st to 2nd 2016, where the discussion focused on the Asian security landscape, export control governance, and discussion on the next steps to developing the India-UK alliance.
The detailed meeting summary of the event can be accessed below.
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.
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.