The New York Times appears to be in one of those configurations of trying to pander to their supporters, adhere to the UN, want to bash the Administration AND make it all seem innocuous while they do so. Unfortunately something gives in that configuration with the NYT and they are, apparently, even with their verbose attacks, having to admit that the FMSO documents do COME from the Iraqi Foreign Ministry archive captured by the US Armed Forces, really have only gotten the 'light going over' that the INTEL Community thought it warranted and that a lot of the INTEL Community's idea of 'background material' is, in point of fact, unknown to the world at large. Thus, to the NYT this collection of documents is LEGITIMATE. Now the DNI has closed the archive just 'to make sure' that nothing classified is on it, and promises to get it back up ASAP.
Mind you, they are trying to say that Saddam was *not* a threat and had plans for developing a nuclear device, which the IAEA estimates put at about a year. In 2002. Lovely, isn't it? Now, Ray Robison, ex-UNMOVIC Inspector has some analysis of which I will extract some for your reading pleasure:
What to keep in mind when you read the NYT article. NYTNow notice the point source for this estimate? Yes, these are UN intelligence reports on Iraq showing up IN the Iraqi Foreign Minister's archive in FMSO. And what did we learn from the Iraqi Foreign Minister? Back to Mr. Robison and his follow-up, which is delightful:
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
So what did Saddam’s foreign minister tell the US government? From the report: [emphasis mine]And why exactly did the NYT put out this article at this time? Bolding from Mr. Robison along with italics, but I took the liberty of closing the bolding on the last paragraph. And what do we get from FMSO? That in 1999 Iraq was trying to get the components for a thermonuclear device: a hydrogen bomb.The intelligence report conveyed information from the source attributed to the Iraqi official which said:By the way, about two weeks ago I contacted a former member of the IAEA about a document from the FMSO website that relates to an attempt to acquire nuclear fusion material in 1999. I wont say much more on that until the document is reviewed by an expert, which is why I contacted IAEA in the first place. It is a duel use item although in some configurations it was expressly forbidden. I wanted to determine the configuration of this item by the documents specifications. Anybody out there a nuclear expert who can help me out? The official I contacted resides in Europe. This person never contacted me back. Now I read about IAEA "European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity ". Funny the IAEA complains now! Think they are trying to stop something from coming out because they hate Bush?
• Iraq was not in possession of a nuclear weapon. However, Iraq was aggressively and covertly developing such a weapon. Saddam, irate that Iraq did not yet have a nuclear weapon because money was no object and because Iraq possessed the scientific know how, had recently called meeting his Nuclear Weapons Committee.
• The Committee told Saddam that a nuclear weapon would be ready within 18-24 months of acquiring the fissile material.
Now further down in the article by Mr. Robison we get a translation of another document posted to the Al Seyassah website on Monday the 25th of September 2006 in Kuwait, and which has been translated to arabic and then to english. Now I will copy and paste it and do some of my own bolding:
A Syrian nuclear program managed by Iraqi and Iranian scientists in the Al Haska area.Mr. Robison also posts the Youtube video of what happened to the folks revealing this, and my stomach cannot take that at the moment. Yes, Iraqi nuclear scientists along with Syrian, Iranian and ex-Russian scientists are working in the more desolate region of Syria developing a nuclear device.
Brussels- From Hamid Geriafi
European intelligence sources based at the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels released information yesterday about the “presence of an active Syrian nuclear program in a secret location Northeast of the country, being supervised by nuclear scientists from Iraq, Iran and some scientists of the previous Muslim Soviet Republics, and it seems that the program has reached the stage of medium activity”.
The information, which Al seyassah got from British security sources in Brussels, revealed that “the brother of the Syrian president, Major Maher Al Assad -in charge of the Republican Guard brigade- along with his maternal cousin of the Makhlouf clan are supervising this program since the end of 2004 in the Northeastern district of Al Haskah situated next to the Iraqi and Turkish borders and which has a Kurdish majority”.
The information - of which the British security sources hinted that it might be coming from the German intelligence which is active in some Middle Eastern countries- revealed that “the Syrian nuclear program is relying on equipment and materials that the sons of the deposed Iraqi leader, Udai and Qusai supervised their transfer to Syria by using dozens of civilian trucks and trains, before and after the US-British invasion in March 2003”. Therefore according to those sources, the international inspection teams or the British and US intelligence could not find one “nuclear needle” in Iraq even though everybody knew about the existence of a huge program since the end of the seventies, before the Israeli planes struck and destroyed its main reactor in the Tuwaitha area near Baghdad in 1981.
The British security sources in Brussels assure Al Seyassah that “Iranian nuclear scientists are cooperating with their expertise, equipment and materials in addition to approximately 60 Iraqi nuclear scientists” that had found refuge in Syria after the onset of the war in Iraq and around 20 scientists that had moved from the former Soviet republics at the beginning of the nineties after the collapse of the Soviet Union and after the first government of Gorbatchev pulled out its nuclear weapons from those new republics”.
The sources said that “the Iranians are supporting the Syrian nuclear program, which was originally built on the remains of the Iraqi program after it was wholly transferred to Syria, with materials, equipment and expertise which are more advanced than it originally was. The Iranian could have brought up an advanced plant to enrich Uranium, of which the West is totally unaware.”
From here we can ask, as Rep. Pete Hoekstra is asking (H/t: Michelle Malkin):
So, just how DID Saddam get his mitts on the IAEA internal intelligence estimates? You are stuck with only a couple of choices: 1) a mole in the IAEA, 2) a paid informant, 3) active IAEA collusion. And for an agency that is supposed to MONITOR and INSPECT nuclear facilities to ensure that they are in COMPLIANCE with international treaties, this is damning no matter which of the three are involved. Because there is either a Ba'athist 'plant' in the Agency, someone selling secrets for cash in the Agency or the Agency, itself, deciding who it will and will not rigorously inspect and then hand that information RIGHT BACK TO THEM. Inspect Iran? It is to laugh!"Yesterday's article by the New York Times highlights a number of important issues with respect to Iraq's WMD programs, as well as the importance of the documents that have been recovered in Iraq," said U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "I am pleased that the document release program continues to stimulate public discussion of these issues.
"With respect to the possibility that documents may have been released that should not have been released, I have always been clear that the Director of National Intelligence should take whatever steps necessary to withhold sensitive documents. In fact, as of today the DNI had withheld 59 percent of the documents that it had reviewed, and has become more risk-averse over time. If the DNI believes that the documents that were released were in the safe 40 percent, imagine what the 60 percent being withheld must contain.
"That said, it is also important to emphasize that the IAEA, contrary to its assertions, never raised any concerns about this material with the United States Government before going to the press. Similarly, the DNI's office has informed me that no agency of the U.S. Government had raised any issues about the potential or actual release of these documents before yesterday. If there were such problems, they would have been better addressed through the appropriate channels rather than the press.
"These documents also raise several additional issues of interest. First, it is extraordinary that the New York Times now acknowledges that the captured documents demonstrate that '[Saddam] Hussein's scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.' This only reinforces the value of these documents in understanding the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. Only 1 percent of the estimated 120 million pages of captured documents have been reviewed, and we must continue working to promptly understand these materials. If there is concern about Saddam's nuclear program, there should be similar concern about potential connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda suggested in the documents.
"Second, my staff's preliminary review of the documents in question suggests that at least some of them may be internal IAEA documents. There is a serious question of why and how the Iraqis obtained these documents in the first place. We need to explore that carefully - I certainly hope there will be no evidence that the IAEA had been penetrated by Saddam's regime.
"Finally, it is disappointing but not surprising that the New York Times would continue to participate in such blatant and transparent political ploys, including what I believe are improper efforts by the IAEA to interfere with U.S. domestic affairs. The sad reality is that the New York Times has done far more damage to U.S. national security by the disclosure of vital, classified, intelligence programs than is likely to be caused by the inadvertent disclosure of decades-old information that had already been in the hands of Saddam's regime."
Now, why is this important? Well, lets step back a bit and take a look at what Iran has and where their First Foreign Legion has been active: Lebanon.
Now that is what Iran currently gives to its First Foreign Legion. What is missing is a final missile from the Iranian inventory, the Shahab IRBM. The Shahab range I got from the Missile Index, for finding all of the known missiles knocking around this planet of ours. Note that the green circle is the known range and has a projected 1,300 km maximum range. This missile is a Traveling (or Tilt) Erector Launcher (TEL) type missile, so takes a while to drive, get in place, erect and launch.
Graphics Courtesy NGA (NIMA) from the University of Texas at Austin Middle East Map Collection. Much cropping and color work by me to get it to something I could manage!
Now Iran couldn't possibly have designs for a missile warhead, could they? I covered the fact that Iran was an integral part of the AQ Khan network when looking at the spread of nuclear separators from Mitutoyo. Further, Iran or Syria has an integral relationship with North Korea as witness by the supernotes that showed up in the Bekaa. And from what we learned from Libya, the AQ Khan network had within it not only material but actual PLANS from Pakistan on how to make nuclear weapons. And since AQ Khan was a part of that program the fact that warheads on missiles were developed can then be shown by the link of Khan HIMSELF to the network. And since they are cheap to copy, one may reasonably assume that they became a pervasive part of that network. Also can be added in the North Korean contacts where they, too, have been working on nuclear devices.
This just might be a problem, no?
Luckily, in place of the non-foreign policy that is currently in place, there is a plan that WILL take care of this if put into action.
A Jacksonian Plan.
A plan to Stabilize Iraq: it starts with getting rid of Syria with the help of Egypt or Jordan or the Kurds doing an Afghan style attack. Its overall goal is to achieve Peace in the Middle East.
One that does NOT get us 'extra generations' for this war, because our children do not DESERVE that from us.
A minor update after correcting some spelling and such: Iran has been duping the US and the West by playing with its nuclear facilities and making a covert nuclear finishing facility in Syria. Syria, having lesser sanctions on it can get better access to materials than Iran can. Also add in the Syrian purchase of NoDong missiles from North Korea in the 1990's and we can see that its regular military has been left to go to hell for a reason. Syria is looking to get nuclear devices along with Iran to become a regional hegemon with Iran.
This is decidedly *bad news*.
Notice that our foreign policy does NOT address Syria as a rogue nation seeking nuclear devices. Some of the standard anti-terror sanctions cover this, but not all of the necessary equipment is even of potential use to a terrorist. Precision machine milling and such parts are common. And as no one in the Administration has pointed to this as a long range problem they are either keeping so 'mum' about it as to be lacking oxygen, or they have no idea about it.
Confirmatory sourcing is necessary for this, but in conception it fits everything that has been seen in the region for the past 5-6 years. I have always seen Syria as the 'weak brother' and depending upon Iran for support. This changes that to Syria playing a deadly game as an EQUAL with Iran to manufacture nuclear devices covertly while the much more visible Iran distracts the West. This forces me to increase my planning and estimation of Syrian objectives and capability by at least one full order of magnitude: they are not playing the game of a 'weak brother' with this, but as a shrewd and crafty State with long-range goals in domination and gaining power. Syria is a much better candidate for highly technical work as their Nation has been sending students overseas to learn such for at least a full generation if not longer. They may need Iran for financial support, but they bring the technical and achievement capability with them in this.
This also puts this last summer into better perspective as Syria and Iran took a chance to give Egypt the indication that they will no longer respect it nor its commerce. That is what sinking an Egyptian freighter well away from any warship indicates. It is *not* a miss or a *misguided hit* or an unknowning attack: it is a clear warning to Egypt to get into line or *else*.
The path forward in Iraq and the entire Middle East next stops in Damascus, Syria. The combined missile thereat coverage of missiles in Lebanon, Syria and Iran are immense. And Iran and Syria have been working on this, apparently away from the heavy spotlight on Tehran. Notice how diplomacy and the International Community have gotten Iran on-board since 2003? Since the 1990's? How the IAEA either has a spy in it or is actively SELLING its secrets? That is not a path 'forward' but a path to destruction and to an Iranian Caliphate co-ruled from Syria.
Welcome to the real world, America!