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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Syria destroys the evidence and why we didn't call the IAEA

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Syria is systematically destroying the evidence of that 'mysterious' building in the middle of the desert that was attacked by Israel six weeks ago.
The dismantling of the damaged site, which appears to be still underway, could make it difficult for weapons inspectors to determine the precise nature of the facility and how Syria planned to use it. Syria, which possesses a small reactor used for scientific research, has denied seeking to expand its nuclear program. But U.S. officials knowledgeable about the Israeli raid have described the target as a nuclear facility being constructed with North Korean assistance.

The bombed facility is different from the one Syria displayed to journalists last week to back its allegations that Israel had bombed an essentially an empty building, said the officials, who insisted on anonymity because details of the Israeli attack are classified.

While U.S. officials express increasing confidence that the Syrian facility was nuclear-related, divisions persist within the government and among weapons experts over the significance of the threat. If the facility was a nuclear reactor, U.S. weapons experts said it would almost certainly have taken Syria several years to complete the structure, and much longer to produce significant quantities of plutonium for potential use in nuclear weapons. Nuclear reactors also are used to generate electricity.

"This isn't like a Road Runner cartoon where you call up Acme Reactors and they deliver a functioning reactor to your back yard. It takes years to build," said Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress. "This is an extremely demanding technology, and I don't think Syria has the technical, engineering or financial base to really support such a reactor."
I wonder whether Cirincione would have said the same thing about Iran ten years ago. 'Nuff said on that point. Better to nip these things in the bud.

The Post also reports that 'weapons experts' are questioning why neither Israel nor the United States contacted the International Atomic Energy Agency before or since the attack.
"The reason we have an IAEA and a safeguard system is that, if there is evidence of wrongdoing, it can be presented by a neutral body to the international community so that a collective response can be pursued," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "It seems to me highly risky and premature for another country to bomb such a facility."
After all, the IAEA has just been so effective in dealing with Iran.... And it would have made a lot of sense for Israel and the US to report Syria to an organization of which Syria is the vice chairman and would have had access to all of the top secret intelligence submitted.... Blithering idiots!


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