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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The message being sent to Iran and the 'Palestinians'

The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial this morning that makes it clear why Israel needs to be concerned with the Bush administration's obsession with making a deal - any deal - with North Korea on nuclear disarmament.
The prospect of nuclear technology in the hands of another terrorism-sponsoring state is scary enough. Worse is the notion that Syria's reactor is no big deal. That's the interpretation being shopped in Washington by anonymous Administration officials, presumably at State, who have been quoted as saying the CIA has "little confidence" that the goal was to build a bomb.

The no-big-deal thesis expounded by the President's men directly contradicts their boss. After briefing Congress behind closed doors, the White House put out a statement expressing "confidence" that "this reactor was not intended for peaceful activities." CIA Director Michael Hayden said yesterday an operational reactor could have produced enough plutonium to make one or two nuclear bombs.

No one disputes that the Syrians were cooperating with the North Koreans on a nuclear facility like the one currently being shut down at Yongbyon as part of the six-party denuclearization process. The previously classified intelligence shows striking similarities between the Syrian facility, going up at a desert site called Al Kibar, and Yongbyon. Other evidence includes photos of a man identified as a North Korean nuclear expert in Syria.

Nor does anyone – other than the Syrians – deny that Damascus was disguising Al Kibar from the world. The secret reactor is also a violation of Syria's obligation as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Given this background, it would be folly for anyone concerned about the national security of the U.S. to conclude that Syria's intention wasn't some sort of nuclear program, or capacity.

It is also disturbing that the Administration first tried to persuade the Israelis that Syria's outlaw actions could be settled with diplomacy, and then sat on its conclusions for seven months after Israel bombed the site.

This kind of behavior is typical of the "arms control process" that Mr. Bush has embarked on with North Korea, where violations get explained away or ignored if the violator merely promises not to do it again. Pyongyang's nuclear aid to Syria was still going on after its February 2007 pledge to give up all its nuclear programs and stop proliferating.

Meanwhile in Tehran, it's easy to imagine what the mullahs are making of all this. Washington may be talking tough again about Iran, but its leadership can see what North Korea is getting away with. If Pyongyang can pursue a nuclear program with impunity – and in violation of its promises – why not Tehran?
Why not indeed? This should concern Israelis for two reasons. First, for the obvious reason stated: Tehran looks at what Pyongyang gets away with and figures that it can do the same.

Second, there is a lesson here for the 'Palestinian' theater. The same Bush administration obsession with making a deal - any deal - with North Korea has been observed in 'negotiations' with the 'Palestinians.' And it's not only George Bush and Condi Rice who have that obsession: It's Ehud K. Olmert and Tzipi Feigele Livni. It's what gave rise to the concept of a 'shelf agreement' that can come back and hit us in the face long after these four are all gone.

These are very dangerous times for Israel and Israelis. While new elections could help, we may not have time for them before the next war. That could happen this summer.


At 8:22 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Given Hezbollah's rearmament, a war could be in the cards this year. The problem is the same bunch of bozos who lost the Second Lebanon War are still running Israel.. It doesn't inspire confidence in the country's ability to win the next war.


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