The world’s nine nuclear-armed countries spent $82.4 bn upgrading their atomic arsenals in the year 2021 – while Netanyahu prepares Israel comeback

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A major US target, North Korea, has developed advanced missiles out of necessity

THE world’s nine nuclear-armed countries – led by the US – spent $82.4 billion upgrading their atomic arsenal in 2021, eight per cent more than the previous year, an anti-nuke campaign group has unveiled.

The largest spender by far was the United States, which accounted for more than half the total expenditures on nuclear weapons – followed respectively by China, Russia, Britain, France, India, the Israeli regime, Pakistan and North Korea – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) stated in its annual report, titled ‘Squandered: 2021 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending.’
‘Nuclear-armed states spent an obscene amount of money on illegal weapons of mass destruction in 2021, while the majority of the world’s countries support a global nuclear weapons ban,’ the group said in the report, noting that the massive spending nevertheless failed to prevent a war in Europe.
‘This spending failed to deter a war in Europe and squandered valuable resources that could be better used to address current security challenges, or cope with the outcome of a still raging global pandemic,’ ICAN said. ‘This corrupt cycle of wasteful spending must be put to an end.’
The group said atomic arms producers had further spent millions of dollars on political lobbying efforts, saying that every $1 spent on lobbying had led to an average of $256 in new contracts involving nuclear weaponry.
‘The exchange of money and influence, from countries to companies to lobbyists and think tanks, sustains and maintains a global arsenal of catastrophically destructive weapons,’ it said.
The US spent $44.2 billion on atomic weaponry in 2021, followed by China’s $11.7 billion, Russia’s $8.6 billion, the UK’s $6.8 billion, and France’s $5.9 billion, according to the report. India led the more recent nuclear arms developers in expenditures on the mass-destructive weaponry, spending $2.3 billion, followed by the Israeli regime’s $1.2 billion, Pakistan’s $1.1 billion and North Korea’s $642 million.
The report came a week after US-led NATO alliance declared that it did not offer a guarantee to Russia that it would not deploy nuclear weapons on the territories of its two prospective new members, Finland and Sweden.
The US-led NATO alliance says it will not offer Russia any guarantees that it would not store nuclear weapons on the territories of its two prospective new members, Finland and Sweden.
ICAN’s report further confirmed a statement released by the prominent Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRI) a day earlier in which it had warned that all the nine nuclear-armed states were increasing or upgrading their arsenals, and that the risk of deployment of such weapons appeared higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War.
While there is no official confirmation on the amount North Korea spends on nuclear weapons or its arsenal, SIPRI estimates that it possesses as many as 20 warheads.
The Israeli regime, along with India, Pakistan, and South Sudan have never joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), an international treaty purportedly established to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
As of August 2016, 191 states have become parties to the NPT, though North Korea, which acceded in 1985, announced its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003, following detonation of nuclear devices in violation of core obligations.
Critics of the treaty insist, however, that the NPT cannot stop the proliferation of nuclear arms or the motivation to acquire them, arguing that the biggest possessors and developers of atomic weapons are leading members of the global accord. Officials of the treaty have been selective in enforcing nuclear disarmament, imposing sanctions on observant member nations, such as Iran, while ignoring certain atomic arms possessor and developers such as India, Pakistan, and the Israeli regime, which is widely believe to possess at least 300 nuclear warheads.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s shaky ruling coalition is moving closer to collapse after a lawmaker with his own coalition said he was leaving the alliance.

‘I have informed the prime minister that based on the current situation, I am no longer part of the coalition,’ Nir Orbach, a member of Knesset (Israeli parliament), said in a statement after quitting Bennett’s team, several Israeli media outlets reported.
The statement expressed concern that, what Orbach called, ‘extremist and anti-Zionist’ MKs had taken the coalition ‘in problematic directions’.
Bennett’s coalition was sworn in last June after his predecessor Binyamin Netanyahu was ruled unfit for the job following several indecisive elections.
Orbach, who was the third legislator to ditch Bennett’s far-right Yamina Party, said he wanted to avoid another election.
His departure has left Bennett’s coalition with 59 seats in the 120-member Knesset – two sits short of the majority it needs to be able to pass laws.
Netanyahu, now head of the opposition and vowing a comeback despite being on trial for alleged corruption, said the ruling coalition was holding ‘one of the longest funerals in history.’
By his own admission, Bennett’s coalition may collapse within ‘a week or two’ unless the MKs who have quit choose to return. ‘If they don’t, then we cannot continue’, Bennett said.
‘We are fighting because the choice is between chaos and stability,’ he alleged, claiming that his coalition ‘isn’t perfect, but the alternative isn’t better’.
Netanyahu responded by saying, ‘You are not fighting’ for the occupying regime ‘but for your own seat’.

  • Syria has denounced as ‘brutal aggression’ Turkey’s plans to establish a so-called safe zone in the occupied northern part of the war-ravaged country, saying they are part of Ankara’s efforts to change the demographic population in the area.

In a statement on Monday, Syrian People’s Assembly said Turkey’s efforts to occupy more Syrian territories threaten regional and international peace and security, stressing that Damascus has the full right to use all means to counter the illegitimate presence of the Turkish troops along with their ‘affiliated terrorist mercenaries’.
The legislature further emphasised ‘the sovereignty of the Syrian state, the independence of its decision, the unity and safety of its territories and people, and the right to use all legitimate political and military means to defend its sovereignty and people to counter the American, Turkish and Israeli occupations and their affiliated terrorist organisations.’
It also condemned Ankara’s reluctance to fulfil its obligations under the Astana and Sochi agreements, while denouncing in the ‘strongest terms’ the bombing of villages in northern Syria by the Turkish military.
Damascus rejects the Turkish military’s hostile measures in northern Syria, saying they are part of Ankara’s policy of ethnic cleansing in the occupied territory.
On May 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara aims to resume its efforts to create a 30-kilometre ‘safe zone’ along its border with Syria.
The Turkish president did not provide further details, but said the operation would begin after Turkey’s military, intelligence and security forces completed their preparations.
He has also urged NATO member states to support his country’s efforts to establish a safe zone on the border with Syria.
Syria denounced Turkey’s call for the establishment of a so-called safe zone in northern Syria as ‘a shameful act of aggression’ and part of Erdogan administration’s policy of ethnic cleansing in occupied Syrian territories.
Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country’s territorial integrity.
Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organisation tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children since it started.
A Syrian lawmaker rejects Erdogan’s call for the establishment of a so-called safe zone in northern Syria, stating that the plan is rooted in his colonial projects.
Turkey has played a major role in supporting terrorists in Syria ever since a major foreign-backed insurgency overtook the country more than ten years ago.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said the Damascus government will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces and allied Takfiri militants in the northern part of the war-battered Arab country.