Wednesday, 30 April 2008

ElBaradei criticises US, Israel over Syrian nukes

How's this for having more front than city hall?

Mohamed AlBaradei, head of the comically ineffective International Atomic Energy Agency aka the United Nations Agency Helping To Ensure Rogue Nations Get Nuclear Weapons, has criticised the US and Israel for not giving them information (that they could then pass on to Syria) that their nuclear development facility had been rumbled.
VIENNA, Austria - The head of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency angrily criticized Israel on Friday for bombing an alleged Syrian nuclear facility, and chastised the U.S. for withholding information on the site.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei also was not provided information about the site until Thursday, the same day U.S. officials briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee about evidence including dozens of photographs taken from ground level and footage of the interior of the building gathered by spy satellites after the Israeli strike seven months ago.

ElBaradei was briefed by telephone by John Rood, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control.
I made a joke about it earlier on but it seems remarkable that the IAEA would be kept in the dark by the United States and Israel. What motivation could both nations have for doing so other than to ensure Syria didn't find out ahead of the Israeli bombing? The IAEA, ElBaradei and the UN itself have been shown to be useless and feckless. Not that there's anything new in that.
"The Director General deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the Agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the Agency's responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts," ElBaradei's office said.

Additionally, "the Director General views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime," it said.

ElBaradei did not criticize North Korea or Syria in his statement.
That is truly unbelievable. It reinforces ElBaradei's real personal agenda to do as much damage as possible to US interests, which has been on display throughout his career.
The IAEA's mission includes trying to keep nuclear proliferation in check, and it depends on member states for information in trying to carry out that task. It is currently probing allegations Iran tried to make nuclear weapons using not only its own research but intelligence provided by the U.S. and other members of the 35-nation IAEA board.
How can the IAEA board function when it has 35 nations involved? And how's it going on its mission to try and keep nuclear proliferation in check?
Intelligence committee members also expressed anger Thursday over the seven-month time lapse before their committee was briefed.

Top U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters in Washington Thursday said they had high confidence in the judgement that North Korea had aided Syria with its nuclear program and the intention was to produce plutonium. But they claimed only low confidence for the conclusion that it was meant for weapons development, in part because there was no reprocessing facility at the site — something that would be needed to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel for use in a bomb.

The Syrian reactor was within weeks or months of being functional when Israeli jets destroyed it, a top U.S. official told The Associated Press in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The official said the facility was mostly completed but still had needed significant testing before it could have been declared operational.
US intelligence agencies have little credibility on the issue of declaring that a nation has the capability of developing nuclear weapons, as Iraq has shown, but if the Israelis think it is then I'm rather inclined to go with their view given the consequences of Syria having a nuclear weapon are rather dire for them.
Repeating its previous stance, Syria, in a statement issued Thursday denied the allegations.
Now there's a huge shock!

How is the stable world going to ensure that the unstable world doesn't become nuclear armed if the IAEA is not only useless but so politically aligned with interests in the Middle East?

(Nothing Follows)

2 comments:

Kevo said...

Hi Jack

As one who thinks the "Yes Minister" series still stands as a deep insight into the bureaucratic mind, there is no particular surprise that the Director General of a multi-lateral, internationally funded organisation leaps to the soapbox to defend the relevance of his domain with vigour.

And equally one can imgaine that the Israelis weren't particularly interested in waiting for the Sir Humphries of the IAEA to spring into committee-action on the Syrian issue. ( I accept criticism may follow for simply posing this suggestion as a view on likely Israeli policy, not as a condemnation or support of that policy - as if the IDF is going to listen to me anyway !? ).

What I find surprising is that the Syrians would build ANYTHING that might spark the strategic angst of the Israelis within strike range of the IAF ?

Surely they can't have believed that the strategic debacle of the most recent Lebanon bloodbath had left the air warriors of the IAF so paralysed that they couldn't and wouldn't contemplate taking out any remotely unsettling target within strike range ?

In fact, after the Hezbollah "Somme battle", perhaps the IDF would welcome a chance to show their conventional warfare muscle to their neighbours just to remind everyone of what they can do in conventional conflict situations ?

For all I know this buidling could have been a cheese factory, but if it could have possibly been construed as a "mystery target", the Syrians might have been advised to get some intermediaries in - like the Turks - to give it the once over and feed some intelligence back to the Israelis, US and Europeans ?

It is hard to see what the Syrians have gained out of this, even if the Israelis just pulled off some target practice on a structure that may just as well have been left alone ?

Jack Lacton said...

Kevo,

I reckon that the Syrians thought they could get away with it. After all, nobody knew that Libya had a nuclear program until Gadaffi fessed up.

A nuclear capable Syria would upset the balance of power in the Middle East even more than if Iran achieves that goal.