Wednesday, June 01, 2011

1-Jun-11: "Very likely a nuclear reactor... should have been declared by Syria"

Regional nuclear thug Assad denies the claims and has
powerful friends to back him up [source]
It's just the thing that people living in a bad neighborhood dread the most: vivid confirmation that those noisy, argumentative and extremely badly behaved people on the other side of the fence are indeed armed and dangerous, just as they have believed for a long time. Only in this case we're speaking of terrorism - national-scale terrorism - and the threat of destruction on a monumental scale.

An opinion piece entitled "The I.A.E.A. and Syria" in the 31st May 2011 edition of the New York Times adopts considerably understated language to say what Israelis sweat about when they look north. Writing about a site that was destroyed by someone's air force in September 2007 (presumably Israel):
"The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general, Yukiya Amano, in his May 24, 2011 report to the I.A.E.A. board of governors... concludes that the destroyed building was very likely a nuclear reactor and should have been declared by Syria... Although he does not explicitly say so, Mr. Amano’s finding places Syria in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Three years in the making, the I.A.E.A. certainly cannot be accused of a rush to judgment... At its meeting next week, the I.A.E.A. board of governors must decide whether to formally declare Syria in noncompliance with the nonproliferation treaty. Doing so will place the matter before the U.N. Security Council, opening the way for sanctions. The decision will test whether responsibility overrides timidity. At stake, the agency’s reputation as the world’s nuclear watchdog. To date Damascus has gamed that reputation and succeeded."
Those two last factors - damage to the IAEA's reputation and Syria's ability to fend off sanctions until now - owe much to the just-ended tenure of one man: Mohamed ElBaradei. An article ("Iran and the Bomb: How real is the nuclear threat?) to appear in today's New Yorker magazine, states the mess pretty clearly. ElBaradei -
a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who is now a candidate for the Presidency of Egypt, spent twelve years as the director-general of the I.A.E.A., retiring two years ago. In his recent interview, he said, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.
Nobel Prize winner or not, ElBaradei was wrong on Syria. If he's also wrong on Iran then whose interests are being served? And how much more dangerous is the world and our corner of it as a result?

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