Sunday, September 16, 2007

Israeli Attack Destroys Syrian Nuke Bomb Materials?

The Timesonline has an intriguing story about the Israeli air raid last month on Syria.
The Times was rife with skullduggery as it quoted a US State Dept official:
"There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?

Excuse a slight digression: In his book Prisoners, Jeffrey Goldberg ran into AQ Khan while in Pakistan in 1999 just after the "Islamic Bomb" was exploded and Khan made no bones about the ultimate goal of the Muslims with the bomb:
"All the West is an enemy of Islam. The West has been leading a crusade against Muslims for a thousand years. Israel is the leader of the crusade. The West will have Israel use its bomb against the Muslims. The crusades have not ended. The war against our religion has not stopped....[AQ Khan's companion then asked Goldberg "Why do the Americans want to destroy Islam?][p.248]"
The Times article goes on to mention the Syrian's possession of chemical/bio warheads on their long-range Scud missiles [possibly derived from Saddam's cached WMD sent to Syria shortly before the Iraq War?].

Of course, the Middle East would look much different today had not Israel destroyed Osirak in 1981, the French effort through Saddam's nicer half Chiraq to supply a nuke to an enemy of Israel. But the beat goes on:
here is no doubt, however, that North Korea is accused of nuclear cooperation with Syria, helped by AQ Khan’s network. John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department, told the United Nations in 2004 the Pakistani nuclear scientist had “several other” customers besides Iran, Libya and North Korea.

After several paragraphs on how broad & secretive the Syrian-DearLeader relationship is, there is evidence that the triangular Syria/Iran/NK network could crumble due to NK's edging toward the Libyan solution of sucking it up and taking the money. But in the end, as the article says, one thing is very clear:
By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake. As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.
And the bad guys are clearly worried.
This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.

But AQ Khan may have more spokes in his wheel than just the "Axis of Evil."

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