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Sunday, September 23, 2007

How Syria may be paying for its missiles

A lot of the skepticism about the possibility of Syria having nuclear weapons is based upon its poor financial condition. Syria, to put it mildly, is financially a basket case. Part of the answer to that riddle might be here: It seems that the Syrians and the North Koreans have been conducting a barter exchange for the last twelve years.
A report says North Korea has trained Syrian missile engineers and the Arab nation has bartered farm products and computers for missiles from the Stalinist state.

The two countries have recently strengthened missile cooperation, with Syrian engineers staying in Pyongyang to acquire technology, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.

The barter system began in 1995 due to Syria's worsening financial woes.

Syria has shipped cotton, food and computers to North Korea in return for buying short-range missiles, the report said.
I must admit that I am skeptical about the supposed Syrian side of the exchange. Cotton is a crop that can only be grown in warm climates with a lot of rain. About 60% of Syria has a desert climate, which would not be conducive to growing cotton (yes, I know Israel grows cotton, but it is considered extremely wasteful of water, and Israel has watering techniques that are unknown to the Syrians), but let's assume they can grow it in parts of the other 40%. 'Food' is about as vague a classification as one can get. And computers? Syria? You've got to be kidding.


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