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Friday, September 21, 2007

Israel, Syria, North Korea and Iran

[Update] 9/22/07- Update on this about the ground operations obtaining nuclear material before the air strikes, found here.

[MAJOR UPDATE] Syria has been named co-chairman of the IAEA.

Two weeks after Israel's alleged bombing raid in Syria, which some foreign reports said targeted North Korean nuclear material, the UN's nuclear watchdog elected Syria as deputy chairman of its General Conference on Monday.

The 51st session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opened in Vienna on Monday and will run through Friday.

While attention has been focused on Iran and its refusal to stop its nuclear program and honor the its international obligations, Syria and North Korea have been working together.

Has the world gone insane?

The IAEA has absolutely no credibility at all. [End Update]

Original Post:

While attention has been focused on Iran and its refusal to stop its nuclear program and honor the its international obligations, Syria and North Korea have been working together.

On what?

Well it was pointed out by many, including myself, back when North Korea stunned the international community with their nuclear test, that if North Korea had nuclear weapons technology, it would not be long before they shared it with other terror sponsoring states and quite possibly other terror groups, such as al-Qaeda, which everyone knows has been trying to obtain nuclear weapons to attack the US.

The air strikes that Israel carried out last week against Syria has opened a Pandora's Box in the Middle East. Speculation over whether it was a nuclear facility that Israel struck, or a chemical weapons facility, which we now know that in July, Syria had an explosion which killed dozens of Iranian engineers and Syrians, or if targeted weapons meant for Hizbullah.

Which suggests that whatever happened near Dayr az Zawr was no accidental intrusion into Syrian airspace, no dry run for an attack on Iran, no strike on some conventional target such as an Iranian Revolutionary Guard base or a weapons shipment on its way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Circumstantial evidence points to this being an attack on some nuclear facility provided by North Korea.

Three days earlier, a freighter flying the North Korean flag docked in the Syrian port city of Tartus with a shipment of "cement." Long way to go for cement. Within days, a top State Department official warned that "there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment." Three days later, the six-party meeting on dismantling North Korea's nuclear facilities scheduled for Sept. 19 was suddenly postponed, officially by China, almost certainly at the behest of North Korea.

Apart from the usual suspects -- Syria, Iran, Libya and Russia -- only two countries registered strong protests to the Israeli strike: Turkey and North Korea. Turkey we can understand. Its military may have permitted Israel an overflight corridor without ever having told the Islamist civilian government. But North Korea? What business is this of North Korea's? Unless it was a North Korean facility being hit.

Which raises alarms for many reasons. First, it would undermine the whole North Korean disarmament process. Pyongyang might be selling its stuff to other rogue states or perhaps just temporarily hiding it abroad while permitting ostentatious inspections back home.

Stopping here for a second, it is fully understood that the administration would wish to work through diplomatic channels to disarm North Korea, but Kim Jong-Il has a long history of making agreements and taking everything offered and then going about his merry way with his original plans.

You cannot make agreements when one party has no intention of honoring those agreements.

In 1999, James Baker wrote a piece in the NYT:

In sum, the Clinton Administration's approach to North Korea -- a policy of appeasement -- continues to fail.

William J. Perry, the former Defense Secretary, who was a first-rate public servant and is the President's special adviser on North Korea, has just admitted about the North Koreans: ''What they're doing is moving forward on their nuclear weapons. They seem to have other programs under way that are part of a nuclear effort.''

There is a long history of broken promises from North Korea. In 1985, it became a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but it repeatedly refused to sign the safeguards agreement required of all parties. It did not agree to sign until 1992, after it had seen the effectiveness of American military might in the Persian Gulf. Still, from 1992 to 1994, North Korea refused to permit some international inspections required under that safeguards agreement.

In 1994, the Clinton Administration changed the Reagan-Bush policy toward North Korea from one of resolve and strength to one of accommodation, over the unstated objections of the Government of South Korea.

That year, the United States entered into a pact called the Agreed Framework under which North Korea promised to stop developing nuclear weapons and the United States and its allies, South Korea and Japan, promised to reward North Korea with hundreds of thousands of metric tons of oil each year and with a $2 billion light-water nuclear reactor, all at no cost.

The Agreed Framework, in effect, rewarded North Korea for its promise to allow inspections at some unspecified point years down the line -- the very same inspections it had been obligated to permit under the international agreement it had signed two years earlier.

Now, according to Mr. Perry, we see that North Korea was continuing to develop nuclear weapons all along.

Once again, we have been played for fools. This didn't have to happen. When we discovered evidence, from 1992 to 1994, that North Korea was moving forward on nuclear weapons, we panicked, bowing to North Korea's threats to turn Seoul into a ''sea of fire'' and changing our policy 180 degrees. Instead we should have pursued sanctions in the United Nations Security Council, beefed up our forces on the Korean Peninsula more than we did and begun planning a regional antimissile defense system.

Read the whole thing..

Appeasement doesn't work, the Clinton example should show us that very clearly and lets be clear here, I am not blaming Clinton for trying, some things just have to be tried, but we have got to learn from those mistakes and taking North Korea at its word is one of those things we should not make the mistake of doing again.

In 1994, when the original appeasement agreement was made, the Hertitage Foundation issued this warning:

Former Democratic Congressman Stephen Solarz is one of the few Americans who had the opportunity to meet with the late Kim 11 Sung and other senior North Korean leaders on several occasions. Congressman Solarz has said that his experiences in Pyongyang suggest that North Korea's commitments "have about the same value as Tsar- ist war bonds." rZ The Clinton Administration and the American people should recognize that the October 21 agreement most likely will not protect the important U.S. interest that are at stake in the Korean nuclear standoff. Rather than simply sigh with relief in the wake of the Geneva accords, Washington should prepare to revisit this crisis.

We are, indeed, revisiting this crisis, only now, North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon and are working in conjunction with Syria, which is an Iranian puppet.

Regular visitors here know that we support President Bush, yet we are not quiet when we see mistakes being made, as with the illegal immigration fiasco and I must say, this paragraphs in a Wapo article shows me that, again, we are ignoring the history of North Korea not honoring any agreements and having no intention of honoring any agreements.

Israel's decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, U.S. government sources said.

The Bush administration has not commented on the Israeli raid or the underlying intelligence. Although the administration was deeply troubled by Israel's assertion that North Korea was assisting the nuclear ambitions of a country closely linked with Iran, sources said, the White House opted against an immediate response because of concerns it would undermine long-running negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Ultimately, however, the United States is believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence before Israel proceeded with the raid, which hit the Syrian facility in the dead of night to minimize possible casualties, the sources said.

The critics in this instance are right- You cannot ever strike a lasting deal with Pyongyang, because it will not be honored.

Conservative critics of the administration's recent diplomacy with North Korea have seized on reports of the Israeli intelligence as evidence that the White House is misguided if it thinks it can ever strike a lasting deal with Pyongyang. "However bad it might be for the six-party talks, U.S. security requires taking this sort of thing seriously," said John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who was a top arms control official in Bush's first term.

Back to the Charles Krauthammer article in Wapo, he points out exactly what we pointed out the other day about Iranian proxies in the Middle East:

Tensions are already extremely high because of Iran's headlong rush to go nuclear. In fending off sanctions and possible military action, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has chosen a radically aggressive campaign to assemble, deploy, flaunt and partially activate Iran's proxies in the Arab Middle East:

(1) Hamas launching rockets into Israeli towns and villages across the border from the Gaza Strip. Its intention is to invite an Israeli reaction, preferably a bloody and telegenic ground assault.

(2) Hezbollah heavily rearmed with Iranian rockets transshipped through Syria and preparing for the next round of fighting with Israel. The third Lebanon war, now inevitable, awaits only Tehran's order.

(3) Syria, Iran's only Arab client state, building up forces across the Golan Heights frontier with Israel. And on Wednesday, yet another anti-Syrian member of Lebanon's parliament was killed in a massive car bombing.

(4) The al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard training and equipping Shiite extremist militias in the use of the deadliest IEDs and rocketry against American and Iraqi troops. Iran is similarly helping the Taliban attack NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Why is Iran doing this? Because it has its eye on a single prize: the bomb. It needs a bit more time, knowing that once it goes nuclear, it becomes the regional superpower and Persian Gulf hegemon.

Iran's assets in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are poised and ready. Ahmadinejad's message is this: If anyone dares attack our nuclear facilities, we will fully activate our proxies, unleashing unrestrained destruction on Israel, moderate Arabs, Iraq and U.S. interests -- in addition to the usual, such as mining the Strait of Hormuz and causing an acute oil crisis and worldwide recession.

June 15, 2007, I wrote a piece called "First They Came For The Jews" and in it I said:

Iran, with Syria as its puppet, now has Hamas, armed and firing rockets into Israel's cities, in the Gaza, on one side of Israel, they also have Hizbullah, stockpiling rockets along Israels northern border, right under the nose of the UN that is there to prevent it, and then, finally we have Syria, according to Arab News making full war preparations for war with Israel.

Go follow all the links in that piece.

Iran is managing to create all the conditions necessary to get what he has always wanted... Armageddon, and a nuclear Armageddon should be unacceptable to everyone in the international community.

It should not be left to Israel alone to stop Iran, Syria, their proxies, Hizbullah and Hamas, the international community must step up to the plate and address the underlying danger, which is Iran.

Appeasement doesn't not work, it has not worked and it will not work and the UN, specifically China and Russia need to stop being the weak links and start allowing sanctions with teeth that will force Iran to comply.

We played this game with North Korea and look at where it has gotten us- A nuclear armed North Korea now working with Syria.

We must get out of the cold war mindset we had with Russia, mutual destruction via nuclear weapons was enough to keep everyone from using them.

The difference here is the Islamic extremists do not care about mutual destruction, they welcome death because they believe they will become martyrs and believe they will go to heaven and get their 72 virgins.

We see from the AP right now, that today, North Korea and Syria are holding high level talks.

North Korea and Syria held high-level talks Friday in Pyongyang, the North's state media reported, amid suspicions that the two countries might be cooperating on a nuclear weapons program.

The talks took place between Choe Tae Bok, secretary of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party, and Saaeed Eleia Dawood, director of the organizational department of Syria's Baath Arab Socialist Party, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The two sides discussed ways of improving friendship and cooperation and other issues of bilateral interest, KCNA said, without elaborating.

Their meeting came amid suspicions that North Korea may be providing nuclear assistance to Syria, a charge both Pyongyang and Damascus deny.

The allegations arose after an alleged Israeli air raid earlier this month on unknown Syrian targets possibly connected to a weapons program.

Andrew Semmel, acting U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, said last week that North Koreans were in Syria, and that Syria may have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment.

It is time to get serious here and stop letting Iran, Syria and North Korea stall until all three of them become armed with nuclear weapons.

Israel might be the first to be hit, which in and of itself is completely unacceptable, but people need to remember that after that, we are next.

Israel cannot take out all the nuclear facilities in Iran and Syria alone, nor should they be expected to, and the United States is not the only member of the international community that has stated that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable.

The international community must work together to see that this does not happen, if they do not, the whole Middle East will explode,in our lifetime and I do not think anyone wishes to see that happen.

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