Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Suspicions of Second Syrian Nuclear Plant

Following Israel's 2007 raid that destroyed a Syrian plutonium plant, it now appears that the Syrians had a parallel uranium enrichment plant. Despite the Ba'athist state's denials of working with former Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, new evidence is emerging.

In al-Hasaka, Syria, suspicion has arisen at a site nominally identified as a cotton-spinning plant. DebkaFile had a very similar story earlier today, identifying the uranium as being from Saddam's Iraq. This site is very similar to a design that Khan sold Muammar Qaddafi's Libya before that country dismantled its nuclear program in 2003.

It appears that the IAEA has also released documents catching Khan and the Syrians red-handed:

The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency also has obtained correspondence between Khan and a Syrian government official, Muhidin Issa, who proposed scientific cooperation and a visit to Khan's laboratories following Pakistan's successful nuclear test in 1998.

This also comes after the country received a visit from the disgraced scientist:

The former investigator said Syria acknowledged to the IAEA that Khan made at least one trip to Syria to deliver scientific lectures, as The Los Angeles Times reported in 2004.

The plans for the Syrian site are almost identical to those that Khan sold Qaddafi.

Another set of the same plans was turned over to the IAEA after Libya abandoned its nuclear program. Libya told the IAEA it had ordered 10,000 gas centrifuges from Khan, most of which it intended for a facility that was to be built according to the plans. Centrifuges are used to enrich uranium in the weapons-making process.

The investigator said the layout of the Al-Hasakah facility matches the plans used in Libya almost exactly, with a large building surrounded by three smaller workshops in the same configurations. Investigators were struck that even the parking lots had similarities, with a covered area to shield cars from the sun.

These plans show Assad again not playing by the rules, believing Syria to be above international law because it can play it both ways in the Middle East. On the one side, Assad can help Iran and fund Hamas and Hezbollah while also claiming to be a bulwark against al Qaeda. Assad cannot have it both ways-- and hopefully his days are coming to an end.

Please bookmark!

1 comment: