Retirement Choice: 2013
The Israeli “Nuclear Alert” of 1973
CNA’s Safety and Security Division conducted a Cyber Preparedness Workshop on April 25, 2013, at CNA’s headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The workshop brought together emergency management and cybersecurity stakeholders, drawn from both the public and private sectors, to discuss cyber preparedness. CNA designed the Cyber Preparedness Workshop to help emergency managers prepare for the ever-increasing and ever-evolving threat of a significant cyber incident with physical effects.
On the afternoon of October 6, 1973, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the armies of Egypt and Syria launched major assaults against Israeli positions along the Suez Canal and in the Golan Heights. It has long been rumored that in this desperate context Israel alerted or somehow manipulated its nuclear forces – perhaps in order to “blackmail” the United States into providing greater support, as one American journalist alleges, or to deter further Arab assault. If true, this would constitute one of the very few serious nuclear “threats” of the nuclear era. This in and of itself makes it a topic of enduring interest. But in light of the continued and perhaps growing salience of nuclear weapons – and thus also their political “uses”– in the hands of U.S. adversaries as well as allies and partners, this study is of more than antiquarian interest because, in concert with other examples drawn from crises and conflicts, it helps elucidate how nuclear weapons can affect and influence the course of politics and war. This study is the first of this kind on this incident and represents the results of almost a year of extensive research in U.S. Government archives and in the open literature, numerous interviews with participants and experts, and the convocation of a workshop to discuss the issue.
This report examines the potential for the United States and India to coordinate on the provision of security assistance and capacity-building in the Indian Ocean (IO) as a form of security burden-sharing. We examine the South Asian littoral countries of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. At present, though, U.S.-India burden-sharing in the Indian Ocean is only notional as a logical next step in the U.S.-India strategic partnership. U.S.-India coordination on security assistance to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives would represent an important change to the approaches and tools in U.S. and Indian relations with these IO countries. It would also be a new aspect of U.S. bilateral and military-to-military relations with India.
The Bay of Bengal is now unique in that it was the first time that the newly constituted International Law of the Sea Tribunal (ITLOS) in Hamburg adjudicated a comprehensive maritime boundary dispute between the overlapping continental and maritime zone claims of Bangladesh and Myanmar. There were serious economic and political consequences for both states in the event of an adverse decision; yet, both states consented to the jurisdiction of the ITLOS to decide their overlapping maritime boundaries. The big question surrounding this decision is whether this case is just another judicial decree or something special. We will also examine whether there are things in this decision that policy makers can build upon to help resolve other maritime disputes.