Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Nuclear Syria........Almost

As we continue to discuss and examine the Kerry-Obama Iran agreement, it is important to inject some historical context into the examination, instead of resorting to the illogical defenses presented by the agreement's architects. "It's this agreement or war" "A bad agreement is better than no agreement at all" "This agreement makes America safer, makes Israel safer" "This agreement guarantees that Iran will not make a nuclear weapon". Oh, please. Each more ridiculous than the last.

Let's turn the clock back, shall we? And just a few short years ago. In February 2007, a former general in Iran's Revolutionary Guard made a frightening allegation. He suggested that Bashar Assad was in the process of developing a nuclear capability, funded by Iran, with technology provided by North Korea. Neither US nor Israeli intelligence were aware of such an undertaking, according to reports. There had been anecdotal reports of construction materials being delivered to Syria, but it wasn't until this defection that things became more clear.

According to the general, Iran was anxious to help Assad obtain nuclear weapons technology and had paid the North Koreans $1 - 2 billion to construct the project. Satellite images confirmed that the site under construction was to contain a gas graphite reactor, a North Korean design signature, which could create enough plutonium to produce a weapon annually.

In August 2007 Israeli Defense Force commandos infiltrated the Syrian site and took photos and soil samples. Just before this incursion, a North Korean ship bound for Syria was intercepted and nuclear fuel rods found aboard. On September 7, 2007, seven Israeli F-15's were dispatched to the north. About 30 miles from the target, they fired 22 missiles at three targets located within this construction complex. The reactor that was being built secretly was destroyed. Iran did not comment on the raid. Israel never claimed responsibility. Syria claimed the site was an unused military facility. They also claimed there was no nuclear cooperation among Syria, Iran or North Korea.

Today we can make some reasonable assumptions about this incident. There was a reactor under construction in the Syrian desert. The IAEA confirmed it. The reactor was destroyed by an Israeli raid. North Korea was providing intellectual and material support. The presence of the reactor was revealed by a senior Iranian military official/defector.

This occurred eight short years ago and is illustrative of a few things. Iran is investing billions to keep Assad in power today. The Russians are deeply invested in the same. Much of Iran's nuclear infrastructure has been provided by the Russians. They would desperately like to see the full compliment of embargoes come off the Iranians because that also helps the Syrians. Iran has never revealed the true extent of its nuclear facilities or research, and it will not have to do so under the terms of the new Kerry agreement. Kerry-Obama intend to take their agreement to the UN for a vote before it receives full deliberation by Congress. That way, Russia and China can vote to remove sanctions regardless of the outcome in Congress (which is ultimately irrelevant anyway).

Maybe that's the flexibility Obama was promising Putin. Even the Germans have already announced a visit to Tehran by the foreign minister and business interests. So, though it is shameful to admit, this agreement cannot be stopped. Not without significant defections by Democrats which is unlikely. Iran will pay no price for lying to the international community for years, will not even pay a price for attempting to bring Syria into the nuclear club of nations.

But the past is a harbinger of the future, and with its own nuclear capabilities fully functioning and bearing an international seal of approval, outsourced adventurism, like that destroyed by the Israelis in 2007, will no longer be necessary.

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