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September 25, 2004
Telegraph: Syria To Send Iraqi Scientists To Teheran

Answering in part the question of the disposition of Saddam's WMD efforts, the London Telegraph reports tonight that Syria is negotiating with Iran to send Iraqi nuclear-weapons scientists to Teheran in order to keep from being the next target of the American war on terror:

Syria's President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein. ...

A group of about 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime. The transfer was arranged under a combined operation by Saddam's now defunct Special Security Organisation and Syrian Military Security, which is headed by Arif Shawqat, the Syrian president's brother-in-law.

The Iraqis, who brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear programme, were given new identities, including Syrian citizenship papers and falsified birth, education and health certificates. Since then they have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts.

Growing political concern in Washington about Syria's undeclared weapons of mass destruction programmes, however, has prompted President Asad to reconsider harbouring the Iraqis.

Not only did Syria allow Saddam's nuclear-weapons data to escape the Coalition, but apparently they've been using it to bolster their own research over the past two years. Now that the heat is on, Asad wants to sneak them out of the country -- or perhaps their work is already complete? Intelligence agencies have evidence that Damascus has purchased gas centrifuges from North Korea, which are an essential component for developing nuclear fuel for weapons. And who did Asad call when he wanted these Iraqis out of Syria? The Iranian mullahs, who have been working on their own nuclear research and probably would like the assistance.

Let's recall that Syria is a member of the UN Security Council, supposedly a member of the body that Kofi Annan says has to approve our actions in defense of our own security ... and also a member of the counterterrorism committee for the UN, a laughably inappropriate assignment. This UNSC member-state allowed Saddam's nuclear scientists to flee just ahead of the invading Americans, which means that Syria knew the Iraqis had not complied with any of the 16 resolutions calling for its disarmament.

Now Asad wants to send them to the very nation which the IAEA will shortly refer to the same UNSC for repeated violations of the nuclear disarmament treaty to which Iran signed. He's trying to undermine the security of the region and give weapons technology to the same people who underwrite much of the terrorist efforts in the Middle East. It looks like Asad wants to help Iran rush to develop nuclear weapons before anyone gets a chance to act, all while trying to keep its own skirts as clean as possible.

Once again, we see the folly of working with an organization of dictators, thieves, and appeasers and expecting anything except betrayal and duplicitousness. Americans who believe that the UN -- and especially the UNSC -- are the only legitimate authority for establishing international security are either naive fools or malicious malcontents. I leave it to you to decide in which category John Kerry should fall, but clearly his insistence that America has to earn the approval of corrupt states that undermined sanctions against Saddam and sheltered his WMD architects and materials makes us markedly less secure.

Syria now has made clear that they are an enemy that needs attention immediately. The US and UK should demand the handover of the scientists, their materials, and anything else Asad has been hiding from the Coalition and the UN. The two Coalition partners should also demand the removal of Syria from the UNSC immediately. Failing that, it's time to create a coalition of democracies and bypass the failing bureaucracy at Turtle Bay for anything more serious that speeches and debates.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 25, 2004 9:33 PM

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