Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nuclear Materials from North Korea, Sand, or Radioactive Kimchi?

As usual, conditions in the Middle East are confusing. The Israeli Air Force bombed a Syrian agricultural research station with nuclear materials from North Korea inside on July 6, 2007. Now Syria says that there was no air strike, that Israeli released bombs over its territory to lighten their load while being chased by Syrian air defenses.

Just to make things more interesting, Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the US, seems to have said that Israel would "pay a price" for the un-raid that didn't happen.

Meanwhile, in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency isn't saying anything about a Syrian nuclear program. A diplomat with no name was more talkative. This anonymous diplomat says the IAEA "didn't know anything about any nuclear facility in Syria, and if there is something there we should know." I'm inclined to agree, but not the way that statement was probably meant.

Then there's North Korea. The North Korean government has protested the Israeli raid on an agricultural research center, nuclear facility, or stretch of desert: depending on who you believe.

The big question is: why, in the name of sanity, would North Korea object to one Middle Eastern country dropping bombs on another Middle Eastern country. Particularly when the bombed country claims that nothing was hit, except maybe some sand?

The only major voice asking that question is the former American ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. He told The Jerusalem Post that "simple logic" made it likely that North Korea and Iran were outsourcing nuclear development "to a country that is not under suspicion" - namely Syria. He added a question that higher-ranking people might be asking: "Why would North Korea protest an Israeli strike on Syria?"

It's entirely possible that Syria doesn't have nuclear materials from North Korea. They've got some pretty nifty weapons already.

Back in July, there was the Syrian military had a little accident. News reports said that 15 Syrian officers were killed, somehow. A less incomplete report wasn't available until now.

The Jerusalem Post (JP) says that dozens of Iranian engineers died, too, in that accident. The massive death toll is understandable. They seem to have been trying to put a chemical warhead on a Scud missile, and goofed.

The warhead exploded, spreading nasty ingredients: including sarin nerve gas.

At now least Syria knows that the kind of warhead they're using is effective: if temeramental.

The Iranian connection and other details showed up Monday, in Jane's Defense Weekly, the JP said.

I'd say that, since the Syrian are mounting sarin warheads on Scuds, they may have decided they don't need nuclear weapons. That agricultural research facility that Syria says the Israeli Air Force didn't bomb may be just that: an ag station.

As for the North Korean protest: I'm surprised that no one has realized what happened.

It's obvious, when you think about it: North Korea is upset because North Korean nationals there: expert chefs and agricultural specialists, and a large quantity of radioactive Kimchi.

After all the trouble China is having with lead-coated toys and lethal pharmaceuticals, North Korea is understandably hesitant to admit that the fermented cabbage they were shipping to Syria was radioactive.

An earlier post about the Israeli raid is "Nuclear Stockpile Bombed?."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.