Monday, October 29, 2007

Back to Syria's Mystery Building

Syria, Israel, and America have something in common.

None of these nations is helping the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) ("Employing science in the pursuit of international peace.") figure out what Syria had built on the banks of the Euphrates River.

A commercial satellite took a picture of something in Syria, back in 2003. It's the same facility that, at last report, Syria says was a big, unused, warehouse (see "Satellite Images of Syrian Reactor / Warehouse").

ISIS published a paper online (*.pdf format, 5 pages), "SUSPECT REACTOR CONSTRUCTION SITE IN EASTERN SYRIA: THE SITE OF THE SEPTEMBER 6 ISRAELI RAID?." It's a pretty good collection of available information about the Syrian site, including what kind of reactor it could be, based on similarities to a North Korean reactor building.

One of the bits of information is the size of the Syrian "warehouse," compared to a North Korean reactor building:
BuildingRoof Structure
Syrian "Warehouse"47 x 47 meters24 x 32 meters
North Korean Reactor48 x 50 meters/td>32 x 24 meters

That coincidence in size is no proof, of course. In fact, the ISIS paper says the images "raise as many questions as they answer."

David Albright, president of ISIS, seems frustrated at the refusal of America, Israel, and Syria, to give him all the information he needs to figure out what Syria built on the banks of the Euphrates.

I can understand Albright's frustration. I can also understand the reticence of these governments.

There's a war on. There will be secrets. Some things will be kept secret because lives depend on the other side staying ignorant. Some secrets will be kept to avoid embarrassing influential people.

I don't know what sort of secret the information about that square building is. My guess is that Israel and America don't want to tell any more than they have to about exactly what they knew - and know - about the "warehouse." And Syria isn't likely to admit that it's got a nuclear program: not even other Middle Eastern nations would be likely to take kindly to that idea.

As for the American government giving ISIS all the information it wants, the research organization says that "Throughout its history, ISIS has maintained a commitment to the wide dissemination of its major findings." That's a noble principle, but in times of war, "wide dissemination" of information can have unhappy consequences.

1 comment:

Brigid said...

Yeah, don't want what happened in the Civil War (War Between the States, for our friends down south) happening again.

You know, major battle plans getting published in newspapers? Man, that was a mess.

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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.