Skip to comments.Syria brokers secret deal to send atomic weapons scientists to Iran (BIG RED ALERT)
Posted on 09/25/2004 4:56:27 PM PDT by MadIvan
Syria's President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Western intelligence officials believe that President Asad is desperate to get the Iraqi scientists out of his country before their presence prompts America to target Syria as part of the war on terrorism.
The issue of moving the Iraqi scientists to Iran was raised when President Asad made a visit to Teheran in July. Intelligence officials understand that the Iranians have still to respond to the Syrian leader's request.
A group of about 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime. The transfer was arranged under a combined operation by Saddam's now defunct Special Security Organisation and Syrian Military Security, which is headed by Arif Shawqat, the Syrian president's brother-in-law.
The Iraqis, who brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear programme, were given new identities, including Syrian citizenship papers and falsified birth, education and health certificates. Since then they have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts.
Growing political concern in Washington about Syria's undeclared weapons of mass destruction programmes, however, has prompted President Asad to reconsider harbouring the Iraqis.
American intelligence officials are concerned that Syria is secretly working on a number of WMD programmes.
They have also uncovered evidence that Damascus has acquired a number of gas centrifuges - probably from North Korea - that can be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb.
Relations between Washington and Damascus have been strained since last year's war in Iraq, with American commanders accusing the Syrians of allowing foreign fighters to cross the border into Iraq, where they carry out terrorist attacks against coalition forces.
"The Syrians are playing a very dangerous game," a senior Western intelligence official told The Sunday Telegraph.
"The Americans already have them in their sights because they are doing next to nothing to stop foreign fighters entering Iraq. If Washington finds concrete evidence that Syria is engaged in an illegal WMD programme then it will quickly find itself targeted as part of the war on terror."
Under the terms of the deal President Asad offered the Iranians, the Iraqi scientists and their families would be transferred to Teheran together with a small amount of essential materials. The Iraqi team would then assist Iranian scientists to develop a nuclear weapon.
Apart from paying the relocation expenses, President Asad also wants the Iranians to agree to share the results of their atomic weapons research with Damascus.
The Syrian offer comes at a time when Iran is under close scrutiny from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which is investigating claims that Iran is maintaining a secret nuclear bomb programme.
The Iranians, who possess one of the world's largest oil reserves, insist that their nuclear programme is aimed solely at developing nuclear energy. Last week relations between Teheran and the IAEA deteriorated further after the Iranians reneged on a commitment to suspend their nuclear programme.
In a move that will raise suspicions in Washington that Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb, Teheran announced that it was to press ahead with plans to enrich 37 tons of uranium into the gas needed to turn the radioactive element into nuclear fuel. Nuclear experts estimate that when the process is complete the Iranians will have enough enriched uranium for five nuclear bombs.
The IAEA responded by passing a resolution setting a November 25 deadline for Iran to clear up suspicions over its nuclear activities or risk having the issue referred to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. The resolution also demanded that Iran halt all activities related to uranium enrichment, a part of the nuclear fuel cycle that can be used for both energy and weapons purposes.
In a further gesture of defiance, Ali Shamkhani, the Iranian defence minister, announced that the Iranian army has taken delivery of a new "strategic missile".
The missile, unnamed for security reasons, was successfully tested last week, Shamkhani was quoted as saying by state television. It was unclear if the weapon in question was the Shahab-3 medium-range missile, acquired by the Revolutionary Guards in July last year. An improved version was successfully tested in August.
The Shahab-3 is based on a North Korean design and is thought to be capable of carrying a one-ton warhead at least 800 miles, which puts Israel well within its range.
The Iranians yesterday also accused America of "lawless militarism" in Iraq and called Israel the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East. "The attack against Iraq was illegal," Kamal Kharrazi, Iran's foreign minister told the UN General Assembly. He thanked Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, for stating the same in a television interview last week.
Drop your bombs between the minarets!
"And so it begins..."
I think it is time for the Mossad to take action.
"The Iraqis, who brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear programme, were given new identities, including Syrian citizenship papers and falsified birth, education and health certificates. Since then they have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts. "
We need to get those people and that data. Preferably before the elections.
We just sold Israel some 500 bunker buster bombs...
Hopefully they will put them to good use... SOON...
These scientists must be valuable assets to the muzlims, or they'd be shot, (or be-headed)...
It's like waiting for the second shoe to fall. I think that most responsible Americans know that Israel will never allow Iran to become a Nuclear power. I also believe that the current administration will not allow it either. I think we can bet our fannies that something is going to happen to both Iran and North Korea. For Iran, I see Israel and the recent 20,000 lbs bunker buster bombs the purchased as a partial answer. As to NK, that will be harder to solve.
Asad better move quick.
"I think it is time for the Mossad to take action."
Wait a minute. Kerry said he has a better plan for fighting terror :)
Looks like they're "Hot Potatoes" now!
The Kerry plan for fighting terrorism...
Not very promising I think.
And Israel is also itching for an excuse to take out Syria as well.
Con Coughlin had a pretty good idea of how Saddam's rule worked; I wouldn't discount him offhand.
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