Saturday, April 26, 2008

Unilateral Attack Sparks International Condemnation! Syria Had No Reactor! Pay No Attention to the North Koreans!

International diplomacy, particularly what's going on with Syria, Israel, and the non-reactor that the Jews didn't blow up, would be hilarious, if people's lives didn't depend on what happens.

Oh, yes: "unilateral" popped up again. I'll get back to that.

Syrian seems to have chosen the story that Israelis bombed an "unused military facility."

Briefly, here's what seems to be going on:
  • September 6, 2007: Israeli warplanes bomb a nuclear reactor that was within weeks of becoming operational
  • September, 2007: Israel says nothing; Syria says Israeli warplanes bombed
    • Empty sand
    • An agricultural facility
    • An unused military facility of some sort
  • April, 2008: American intelligence reports to Congressional committees; some details come out, including a photo of a North Korean nuclear scientist talking to his Syrian counterpart
  • April 26, 2008: same old, same old:
    • Syria decides on their "unused military facility" story
    • Israel blamed for taking unilateral action
    • IAEA is upset that they didn't know about the reactor
      • Not at Syria, which should have informed the IAEA
      • At America - and Israel
I will admit that I'm inclined to sympathize more with Israeli and American leadership, than Syria's. It probably has something to do with Syria's policy of giving support, political and material, to Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups. And, that Damascus serves as a leadership center1 for:
  • Hamas
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  • The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP)
  • The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
I know: "America is just as bad." That claim is generally backed by a reminder that America supported groups and individuals which eventually were involved in the Taliban's rule of Afghanistan, or other instances of imperfect precognition. Never mind that the former Soviet Union was having its own "Vietnam" in Afghanistan, making life a trifle awkward for Afghanis in the process.

As for Israel, I think that critics have a point. This nation, surrounded by people and governments that made the slogan, "death to the Jews! Death to the great Satan America!" famous, might have noted that Syria was building a reactor - almost certainly for military purposes - and then:
  1. Asked to have the matter brought up in the next U.N. Security Council meeting (I believe that might be the appropriate body)
  2. Prepared speeches
  3. Addressed the U.N. Security Council, when an opening in the agenda became available
  4. Prepared responses to objections raised, and counter-claims from Syria
  5. Go To Step 3
Or, the Israeli government could have decided to save themselves - and a great many other nations - from a nuclear threat: just as they did with Saddam Hussein's nuclear program in 1981. Their action was "unilateral." In a world where international organizations seem more interested in protracted cycles of rhetoric, than in confronting issues with goal-oriented diplomacy or, failing that, military action: I think that Israel was acting with intelligent self-interest.

As for the International Atomic Energy Agency, I think that the IAEA might be well advised to criticize Syria, which was obligated to report nuclear work like the "unused military facility" it was building. I'll admit to a bias.

I've been disturbed by a certain lack of fit between reality and the world that the IAEA lives in. For example, the glowing report the IAEA gave to the Chernobyl situation recently.

And, when it comes to matters involving Islamic enthusiasts and their stated goals of wiping out Israel and western culture, I have a niggling doubt that the IAEA Director-General, Mohamed El-Baradei, will be completely objective.

I know: it's unreasonable. But, I submit, no more unreasonable than a similar doubt as to the commitment of a (hypothetical) director of a Jewish civic rights oversight agency in 1938, whose name was something like Heinrich von Schwinghammer.

My concerns over the IAEA's seeming hesitancy to engage nations which are real threats may be no more than my view, as an outsider, of the delicate negotiations and sensitivity that must exist in such cases.

Syria's non-reactor, and related matters, in the news: A short history of Syria, which I believe puts some of the Syrian government's policies in a more complete light: Posts from "Another War-on-Terror Blog,on the Israeli raid and its aftermath:
1("Country Reports on Terrorism 2005" Chapter 6 -- State Sponsors of Terror Overview

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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.