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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Biden held up Bolton's confirmation over claim Syria had nukes

In an article in Saturday's Wall Street Journal, former American ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton discloses that Gaffin' Joe Biden (then a Senator) held up Bolton's 2005 confirmation because Biden believed Syria could not possibly be developing nuclear weapons.
Key elements of our intelligence community (IC) fought against the idea of a Syrian nuclear program for years. In mid-2003, I had a bitter struggle with several IC agencies -- news of which was leaked to the press -- concerning my testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the Syrian program. Then Sen. Joe Biden made the Syria testimony an issue in my 2005 confirmation battle to become ambassador to the United Nations, alleging that I had tried to hype concern about Syria's nuclear intentions. (In fact, my testimony, in both its classified and unclassified versions, was far more anodyne than the facts warranted.)
How Syria was able to develop nuclear weapons was apparently disclosed to the public this week, when we were told that Iranian defector Ali Reza Asghari has told American investigators that Iran financed Syria's nuclear development program. Bolton believes that Asghari's testimony is evidence of an Iranian-Syrian-North Korean nuclear axis of evil.
As for Syria's technical expertise, North Korea obviously had the scientific and technological ability to construct the reactor, which was essentially a clone of the North's own at Yongbyon. Moreover, it is entirely possible that Syria's nuclear program -- undertaken with Pyongyang's assistance -- is even more extensive. We will certainly never know from Syria directly, since Damascus continues to deny it has any nuclear program whatever. It's also stonewalling investigation efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

As for Syria's ability to finance a nuclear program, Iran could easily supply whatever Syria might need -- even in a time of fluctuating oil prices. Moreover, given Iran's hegemony over Syria, it is impossible to believe Syria would ever undertake extensive nuclear cooperation with North Korea without Iran's acquiescence. Iran was likely an active partner in a three-way joint venture on the reactor, supplying key financial support and its own share of scientific knowledge. Cooperation on ballistic missile programs between Pyongyang and Tehran is longstanding and well-advanced, and thereby forms a basis of trust for nuclear cooperation. Moreover, both Iran and North Korea share a common incentive: to conceal illicit nuclear weapons programs from international scrutiny. What better way to hide such programs than to conduct them in a third country where no one is looking?
Bolton believes that if Asghari's testimony is eventually borne out, it will remove Obama's ability to negotiate face-to-face with Iran. Thus far, the Obama administration has responded by denying the validity of Asghari's testimony. As I pointed out on Friday, that denial is not really plausible.

Read the whole thing.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

NORK involvement in the Syrian reactor was pretty obvious from their reaction castigating Israel openly for the strike, which presumably killed some of their technicians on the ground. There seems to be photographic proof that one of the men killed in the Israeli attack was a major person in on the US-N. Korea nuke negotiations.

I would suppose that Iran would have provided Syria with the (oil) money and the support needed to carry out the project.

Biden is even more clueless than either Clinton or Rice when it comes to foreign affairs that endanger the US or its allies. He's really quite stupid.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Ashan, America is headed by a pair of clueless dolts out of their depth. The only country they figure they can easily push around is Israel. They may be in for a surprise!

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

Norman - One would hope so! Heh!

At 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How ironic if, after protecting the terror regimes from scrutiny in order to allow them to finish their bombs, the first use of those bombs was against the USA?


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