« BBC correspondent discovers gun-owning America feels safe |
Blog Home Page
| Surprise guilty plea of Rezko pal »
April 23, 2008
Bombed Syrian Site was Plutonium Reactor
You may recall the pinpoint strike last year by the Israeli Air Force against a building in Syria that no one was willing to go on the record saying what exactly was being built there.
Today, the CIA will go before Congress and reveal the not very well kept secret that the site was a joint Syrian-North Korean nuclear reactor that would have been capable of producing plutonium:
CIA officials will tell Congress on Thursday that North Korea had been helping Syria build a plutonium-based nuclear reactor, a U.S. official said, a disclosure that could touch off new resistance to the administration’s plan to ease sanctions on Pyongyang. Just what were the NoKo's up to? It appears that because their plutonium reactor was shut down by agreement with the US and China that they were looking for another site to manufacture their bomb making materials. It is doubtful they would have given Syria any of the plutonium nor helped them build a bomb. But Israel simply couldn't take that risk which is why the site was bombed.
The CIA officials will tell lawmakers that they believe the reactor would have been capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons but was destroyed before it could do so, the U.S. official said, apparently referring to a suspicious installation in Syria that was bombed last year by Israeli warplanes.
The CIA officials also will say that though U.S. officials have had concerns for years about ties between North Korea and Syria, it was not until last year that new intelligence convinced them that the suspicious facility under construction in a remote area of Syria was a nuclear reactor, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing plans for the briefing.
By holding closed, classified briefings for members of several congressional committees, the administration will break a long silence on North Korean-Syrian nuclear cooperation and on what it knows about last year’s destruction of the Syrian facility. Nonetheless, it has been widely assumed for months that many in the administration considered the site a nuclear installation.
This answers a question that really hadn’t generated much doubt. Israel doesn’t usually risk air strikes into hostile Arab nations unless the stakes are significant. Even more revealing, Syria didn’t register any strenuous public objections after the clearly provocative attack on its nation. That could only mean that Syria had something so important to hide that it didn’t want international attention drawn to the site. That either meant a nuclear-weapons site or Saddam’s missing WMD. Now we have our answer. As I stated above, I don't think North Korea would have risked giving Syria anything they could use to build the bomb. But Ed may be right in which case the Israeli strike - brilliantly carried out - was probably necessary.
It looks like Israel prevented another Osirak from completion, and with it a deadly shift in the balance of power in the Middle East.