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September 19, 2007
Intense alarm about NoKo nuke materials in Syria
Caroline Glick points out alarming implications of the September 6 Israeli raid on a claimed North Korean nuclear materials site in Syria. If official leaks about the IAF raid are true, the North Koreans have again reneged on their solemn promises to the Six-Nation Group to retreat on their own nuke program. Instead, they have secretly shipped nuclear weapons materials, possibly off-the-shelf fissile uranium or plutonium, to Syria, in close collaboration with Iran.
Here is what we know, and what we can infer.
1. On September 6, the Israel Air Force (IAF) bombed a Syrian site near the Iraq border, soon after a North Korean ship docked with a claimed cargo of "cement." The NoKo ship flipped its ownership identity more than once before it docked in Syria. Israeli, American and European sources hint that the Syrian site was a supposed agricultural research station that in fact was used to store nuclear materials. The site was reportedly destroyed.
2. The scheduled six-party meeting between the NoKos and China, the United States and three other nations was immediately canceled.
3. It is believed that Iran is closely involved in Syrian-NoKo weapons cooperation. The Axis of Evil is alive -- minus Saddam Hussein and Iraq. By themselves neither Syria nor North Korea have the finances to support an aggressive build-up, such as the one Syria has been conducting with new Russian air defense systems, missiles, possibly off-the-shelf nuclear components, and chemical weapons that recently led to a chemical warhead explosion in which dozens of Iranian and Syrian engineers and officers died, according to Jane's Defence Weekly.
4. But the plot thickens with reports of Iranian high-quality forged dollars, which have reportedly been used to pay for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. According to Glick:
(Note: The Beka'a Valley was widely reported to be the destination for Saddam Hussein's WMDs, smuggled out of Iraq by Russian Spetznaz troops during the American assault on Baghdad. It was under Syrian control at that time. Saddam's WMD's might have been moved to Syria when the Beka'a Valley became less secure for the Syrians during last summer's Hezbollah War.)
5. So far, all these points are supported by public reports. We can infer the following:
a. The NoKo agreement with the United States, China, and South Korea to reduce its nuke program in exchange for economic aid is now dead.
b. The United States is now making urgent representations to China to move against the NoKos in order to protect its credibility as a guarantor of the agreement. As a major trading partner, China's credibility matters to its own rulers.
c. The United States may have provided targeting intelligence to the IAF for its bombing raid on the "agricultural research station." The IAF raid also showed that recent advanced Pantsyr air defense systems purchased by Iran and Syria can be defeated. Both Syria and Iran are therefore much more vulnerable to air attack than they seemed to be before the raid.
d. Iran, Syria and North Korea have therefore fulfilled the predictions of their worst critics. That is why the Germans and the French have publicly given up on their diplomatic efforts to get Iran to back down on its rush to nuclear weapons.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who carries great credibility on the Left in Europe, has just warned that "the world should prepare for war over Iran's nuclear programme," according to the BBC News, which quoted Kouchner as saying, "We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war."
For a change, both the French and Germans are actually facing danger, rather than denying its existence. Kouchner said,
6. A final point. Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the fanatical president of the Khomeinist regime in Tehran, is flying to New York to speak at the UN General Assembly next week. We do not know what he will say, but chances are that he has been sent by the Supreme Guide of the Mullahcracy to see if any of Iran's credibility can be rescued from this mess. On the public evidence, that now seems unlikely, suggesting that stronger sanctions against Iran are due soon. If the UN Security Council fails to adopt strong economic sanctions, the Europeans appear to be on board for a separate Coalition of the Willing effort to squeeze the Tehran regime.
Iran is a truly malevolent regime. It's been caught in the act, along with Syria and North Korea. Ahmadi-Nejad will try to brazen this one out at the UN next week. We have previously speculated that Ahmadi-Nejad may not be emotionally capable of losing face in public, and we may see that next week, if he is confronted with the incriminating evidence. We may see a classic Hitler-like rage attack. If the Iran regime decides to backtrack, they may need to get rid of Ahmadi-Nejad, who looks to be out of control.
Whether this rogue regime trio can be made to see reason is very doubtful. They have not done so before, after being given numerous opportunities.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com