Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 28

The CIA delivered a report to Congress yesterday which outlines what the agency says is a growing weapons proliferation threat from Russian and Chinese businesses and quasi-government agencies. The report, which deals with the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, says that “entities” have emerged in Russia and China which may be operating outside the direct control of their governments. These entities, the report claims, are exporting key military technologies to “countries of concern,” such as Iran, Syria and India, as well as to Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and North Korea. The report apparently credits the Russian and Chinese governments with increasing their efforts to restrict the export of sensitive technologies, but concludes that those efforts may not be sufficient in the increasingly complex post-Cold War world (AP, February 9).

Yesterday’s CIA report reprises numerous Washington charges that Russia is failing to stop the leaks of sensitive military technologies to Iran. U.S. concerns in that area led the Clinton administration earlier this year to impose sanctions on three Russian institutes–or “entities”–accused of providing missile or nuclear to technology to Iran. Washington also threatened to curtail or stop lucrative Russian launches of U.S. satellites if Moscow did not move forward with more determination to enforce its export controls. Contrary to what the CIA report apparently suggested, however, the Clinton administration has charged in recent weeks that Russian government efforts to stop the leakage of sensitive technologies have weakened over the past six months or so.

While Russian-Iranian cooperation has topped the Clinton administration’s list of concerns in this area, Washington has also criticized Moscow’s decision to continue its nuclear cooperation with India. That decision, the United States says, weakened international efforts to isolate India in the wake of nuclear tests that New Delhi conducted last year. In addition, the Clinton administration more recently criticized Moscow for its plans to sell advanced antitank missiles to Syria (see the Monitor, February 3, 8). Washington has reportedly threatened to cut some US$50 million in aid to Russia if Moscow follows through with the sale.