IDF seized nuclear materials in Syria?
The Sunday Times of London is reporting this morning that IDF commandos from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit seized nuclear materials
of North Korean origin in Syria before the IAF raid two weeks ago on what most of the world thinks was a nuclear plant.
They confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. This raised fears that Syria might have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
Israeli special forces had been gathering intelligence for several months in Syria, according to Israeli sources. They located the nuclear material at a compound near Dayr az-Zwar in the north.
Evidence that North Korean personnel were at the site is said to have been shared with President George W Bush over the summer. A senior American source said the administration sought proof of nuclear-related activities before giving the attack its blessing.
Diplomats in North Korea and China believe a number of North Koreans were killed in the strike, based on reports reaching Asian governments about conversations between Chinese and North Korean officials.
Syrian officials flew to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, last week, reinforcing the view that the two nations were coordinating their response.
Color me skeptical. This little tidbit is a sidebar to a larger piece
in which the same reporters - led by Uzi Mahnaimi
- present what purports to be an account of the raid. Here's the key part in what is otherwise a rehash of what's known already:
Most diplomats and experts dismiss the idea that Syria could master the technical and industrial knowhow to make its own nuclear devices. The vital question is whether North Korea could have transferred some of its estimated 55 kilos of weapons-grade plutonium to Syria. Six to eight kilos are enough for one rudimentary bomb.
“If it is proved that Kim Jong-il sold fissile material to Syria in breach of every red line the Americans have drawn for him, what does that mean?” asked one official. The results of tests on whatever the Israelis may have seized from the Syrian site could therefore be of enormous significance.
Six to eight kilos is not a large package. But I'd be more comfortable believing it if it came from a source other than the sensationalist Manhanimi