Across the Bay

Sunday, December 07, 2008

What the IAEA Report Tells us about Assad

I've finally come around to posting this item as a follow-up to my posts on the Syrian nuclear facility. Here is the leaked version of the IAEA report [PDF] on Syria courtesy of the ISIS site.

The report shows pretty clearly that the site destroyed in September of 2007 was a North Korean-style nuclear site and makes a mockery of the already pathetically hilarious Syrian statements on the site.

But one particular paragraph in the report struck me for what it tells us about Bashar Assad:

10. Analysis of the available satellite imagery shows that construction activities were started at the Dair Alzour site between 26 April 2001 and 4 August 2001. The images show ongoing construction until August 2007. Imagery taken prior to and immediately after the bombing indicates that the destroyed box-shaped building may have had underground levels. Its containment structure appears to have been similar in dimension and layout to that required for a biological shield for nuclear reactors, and the overall size of the building was sufficient to house the equipment needed for a nuclear reactor of the type alleged.

Construction started in 2001. That means that proceeding with a project for a clandestine nuclear site was among the very first acts Bashar undertook after coming to power. At the time, everyone was gushing over the garbage mythology about Bashar as a "Western oriented reformer." Meanwhile, what he was doing was setting up a secret nuclear program, continuing his father's policy. (For the history of Syria's nuclear ambitions, see here.) This was also around the time when tensions between the Bush Administration and North Korea over the latter's nuclear program were running high (here's a timeline of the North Koreans' program).

Furthermore, this means that he went ahead with this project before the Iraq war, before September 11, and during the era of the policy of active high-level US "engagement" with Syria, and when Syrian occupation of Lebanon was absolute and uncontested. Moreover, this also means that when Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair received Bashar in June 2001 and December 2002 respectively, in an attempt to encourage the young "reformer" to adopt more "constructive" policies and show him goodwill to nudge him closer to the West (snicker!), the terror-sponsoring dictator had already begun constructing the clandestine nuclear facility.

Aside from the sponsoring of al-Qaeda in Iraq against the US, the harboring of arch-terrorists like Imad Mughniyeh as well as al-Qaeda figures on Syrian soil, the attempt to station Russian ballistic missiles in Syria, the transfer of advanced Russian weaponry to Hezbollah from the Syrian military stockpiles, the attacks on UNIFIL, the alliance with Iran, the direct threats against, attacks on and destabilization of US allies, and the rest of the seemingly endless list, in many respects this little fact about when the Syrian nuclear project began is the most telling item (for all the enthusiastic "engagers" out there) about who and what Bashar Assad really is.