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Sunday, November 07, 2010

IAEA to refer Syria to Security Council?

The United States has warned Syria that its failure to cooperate with IAEA inspectors may yet result in Syria being referred to the UN Security Council. Syria has denied inspectors access to the site of the al-Kibar nuclear facility - allegedly destroyed by Israel in 2007 - for more than two years.
The United States warned Syria on Friday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may take actions against it if it does not allow IAEA inspectors to tour Deir al-Zur and other sites, where Damascus is suspected of having operated a nuclear reactor program, Israel Radio reported.

The IAEA's US representative, Glenn Davis, said it was crucial for Syria to accept the inspectors' requests to tour the sites in question, and to study their findings.

Syria has blocked inspectors from touring Deir al-Zur for over two years. In September, a US envoy suggested time was running out for Syria to cooperate with the UN atomic agency probe of alleged secret nuclear activities before the agency invokes its seldom-used authority to call for a special inspection — a possible prelude to UN Security Council involvement.

Three years ago, IAF warplanes reportedly bombed what the US said was a nearly finished nuclear reactor, launching an agency investigation. After an initial visit to the site, agency inspectors have not been allowed to return — or visit other suspect sites — and the agency's chief, Yukiya Amano, says Syria's lack of cooperation could mean that information sought by the agency could be lost with the passage of time.

Syria denies hiding nuclear activities.
Martin Peretz argues that the Syrians constitute as big a danger as the Iranians.
There is much evidence of Syrian violations of the treaty which--remember!--it has signed. Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the I.A.E.A. and head of its department of safeguards, makes the case for an "immediate special inspection" of Syria's violations.
A key option for inspectors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the world body charged with stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, is a "special inspection" an intrusive visit made when the IAEA judges the information provided by a state to be inadequate. But The IAEA is reluctant to use such inspections, even though, in the case of Syria, circumstances cry out for one. This reluctance challenges the authority and credibility of the agency, its board of governors (made up of the representatives of thirty-five of its member states), and the ultimate guardian of the world nuclear order, the United Nations Security Council.
Of course, up to the day before yesterday, President Obama was snuggling up to Bashar Assad. But Assad kicked him in the groin. Maybe the U.S. will be less indifferent to what Syria now does. But, then, how much influence does America have with U.N. agencies? Not much.
My sense is that the US has a lot more influence in the IAEA than it does in the 'softer' UN agencies like the 'human rights council' and UNESCO. The problem is that I don't see Obama using that influence.

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