Sunday, April 27, 2008

That Syrian-North Korean "Reactor"

Juan Cole at today posted a letter from an "informed reader" that makes some rather telling points about the supposed nuclear reactor that North Korea was supposedly helping Syria build that was bombed out back in September by the Israelis, and which the US CIA now claims was a reactor, although maybe, not necessarily, one to be used for weapons, with some crucial parts missing. The letter on Juan Cole makes the following further points.

The reactor design was supposedly based on the DPRK's Yongbyon, itself an old British design, and a "hunk of junk." Yongbyon uses lots of graphite. None reported from the area around the blast or of any moving into Syria. No evidence of boron-carbide or cadmium alloys that could be used for control rods. No reports of any missing uranium yellowcake to be used for fuel rods. Furthermore, the US knew there was construction going on at this site since 2001, but never asked the IAEA to carry out an inspection, even thought it also had known for some time that Israel had been plotting to hit the site. Syria has been a signatory of the NPT since 1969 in good standing (unlike Israel) and presumably would have responded favorably to an invitation for an IAEA inspection, or if it had not done so, that would have been a red flag. But no such move was ever made, and now we never will be able to find out what was really going on there or if the North Koreans really were involved (the CIA presentation's evidence for their involvement was one photo of a known North Korean with an unnamed man claimed to be a Syrian at an unnamed location at an unkown date that was supposedly provided by the Israelis, as were most of the photos used in the CIA presentation). So, this looks like a lot of phoney manipulation for purposes that remain unclear: pressure on North Korea, pressure on Iran, pressure to sandbag or enhance some secret negotiations between Israel and Syria? All are possible.

1 comment:

Shag from Brookline said...

"A day late and a dollar short" seems to sum up this revelation.