September 20, 2007


Source: Syria Has Nuclear Program (BENNY AVNI, September 19, 2007, NY Sun)

Recent reports of cooperation between Syria and North Korea on weapons development, including in the nuclear field, are chilling earlier enthusiasm in Washington about the prospect of North Korean disarmament through diplomacy.

A person identifying himself as a former Syrian military officer who has had access to sensitive military information in Damascus confirmed to The New York Sun yesterday that Syria has been working on a clandestine nuclear program at least since 1986. The former officer added that many North Korean nationals are in Syria in relation to that program. Syrian and North Korean officials have dismissed reports in several press outlets claiming that the target of a September 6 Israeli air raid over Syria was a nascent Syrian nuclear program heavily aided by North Korea.

If Israel indeed hit a target related to such a program, and if, as the Washington Post first reported, the air raid was scheduled several days after a suspicious North Korean delivery arrived in Syria, this would put Pyongyang, which of late has promised to verifiably disarm its nuclear program, in an awkward position. It also may explain the abrupt suspension of a meeting in Beijing, scheduled for today, of six countries involved in the North Korean disarmament diplomacy.

"The North Koreans don't want to be in the glare in Beijing, explaining what they are doing in Syria," a former American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said. Mr. Bolton, who has led the charge against an inclination by some in the State Department to invest enough trust in Pyongyang to offer it incentives in exchange for disarmament, warned about ties between the regimes of Kim Jong-Il and President al-Assad as long as four years ago.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2007 2:43 PM

How hard would it be to actually drop a small nuke on one of these facilities and act outraged with the rest of the world at their experiment gone wrong?

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 21, 2007 2:18 AM