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.
Unless North Korea is stupid, they will stop rattling their sabres and sit down.
It must be hell being Assad and knowing your days are numbered in double digits to Nov 3.
"Rock the casbah!"
North Korea has every reason to believe that Red China will back them up, should they ever get into a battle with the US. Japan is very, very nervous right now.
North Korea may just be waiting for us to spread ourselves too thin in the Middle East, before they decide to take South Korea and Japan.
And I have no doubt that they will use their nuclear arsenal, if it looks like we may keep them from getting what they want. Totalitarian regiems do not hesitate to use "Scorched Earth" policies.
One Rogue state, One MIRV... Not even a dent in the compliment of one Trident sub, which parked in the Sea of Japan would leave little left between the DMZ and China.
A single overt outrage against our People and for the NK, "your existence is ended."
China is watching patiently to judge our still-unfolding reaction to 911.
So far, our moral fiber has proven more True Grit than they had estimated, a deterence to their objectives of removing our imfluence from East Asia.
They will be reading the election results most carefully.
Syria and Iran?
The Winds of War are blowing.
I believe the evidence is starting to come out of the wood work. This article helps with the question about the WMD, and I also believe UMB is not far behind.......
I find it hard to believe that Syria would try to make its own bomb. It would be far too easy for Israel to destroy all the work in one short sortie.
Far more likely that they have outsourced all nuclear work to Iran.
OBL or UBL...sorry for the typo....
White House needs to get this out!!!!!! Come on Karl Rove!!!!
I think this might explain some of the higher level military contact that have been reported between the U.S. and Syria... Bottom line is the fall of Saddam was put the fear of god in to some of these dictators ... like in the case of Libya... If Bush is reelected (and that look real good right now)Syria will turn them over to save there skin
The thing goes with Iran they dont't want them because ther a hot potato ... after the election...they will play ball because they know playing games in the UN will not work to save them
Did the ketchup worned out about this to
Ruh Roh... Looks like a big blob of loose fecal matter is about to hit the wind generation device.
You can hear the distant drums of war.....approaching.
Targeting coordinates soon to follow...