Syria blames Israel for mystery uranium


By JLCohen
March 5, 2010
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Syria, finding itself waiting in the hallway outside the headmaster's office due to the International Atomic Energy Agency having discovered suspicious traces of uranium at a research facility, has come up with a crafty ruse - blame it on someone else, namely Israel.

According to the IAEA, the uranium would not normally be found at research reactors such as that at the desert site, leading to suspicions that the Arab republic may be attempting to develop a nuclear capability which, were it to be successful, would obviously be cause for much concern in Israel. Responding to these worries, the Israeli Air Force bombed the facility two years ago - Syria originally claimed that the traces were depleted uranium from conventional, non-nuclear Israeli munitions; a claim disputed by the IAEA who say that it is not depleted uranium. However, the Agency's chief Syrian delegate Bassam Al-Sabbag is now claiming that the traces were deliberately dropped by the IAF in an attempt to incriminate his country. OK, so it's perhaps not the best excuse ever given, but desperate times call for desperate measures and one never knows - maybe if they act innocent and smile sweetly, the headmaster will fall for it?

Unfortunately for them, Syria's track record with the IAEA hasn't been entirely spotless - Damascus has been a bit too keen to prevent inspectors from making further visits to a number of sites including the facility where the uranium was found; which, naturally, does look rather suspicious. Having the backing of Iran - which also has a track record that hasn't exactly endeared it to the inspectors - may well also prove to be as much a curse as a blessing, since Syria runs the risk of coming under suspicion due to the company it keeps. Also, there's the small matter of more uranium traces discovered at a different site in 2008.

Despite the nuclear reactors and radioactive elements, does there not seem something a little medieval about Syria's claims? Not only has Israel been accused of a novel, updated version of blood libel just recently (the allegations that the IDF harvested organs in Haiti and elsewhere), it seems they now face of a modernised, high-tech variant of the old well-poisoning accusations too. Which century is this?

COMMENTS

John Gold

Sat, 03/06/2010 - 23:11

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I think that Israel, and the Jewish people need to begin befriending their neighbors not constantly slagging them off - Remember every friend is one less enemy...


JLCohen

Sun, 03/07/2010 - 09:15

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I quite agree, but it's hard to befriend someone who tries to put the blame for their own actions on you in an attempt to both save their own skin and blemish your reputation. Imagine that you had a neighbour who filled his garden with rubbish, but when the council threatened him with further action he said that you had dumped the waste in an attempt to make the entire neighbourhood hate you? Would you be friends with that neighbour?

If it's the case, as Deputy Minister for the Negev and Galilee Ayoub Kara says, that Arab states would "quietly support" any actions taken by Israel against Iran then perhaps we might just see a new era of friendship in the Middle East. Syria, the right of which to develop a nuclear program is backed by Iran, is unlikely to be among those nations, however.


John Gold

Sun, 03/07/2010 - 09:56

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But look at it from their sides for a moment.
Israel has a large (unofficial, therefore internationally illegal) arsenal of nuclear weapons - so why is it not right for them to acquire hem but fine for Israel?
Further, if you look at America's history of bombing, invading (african, middle east, south american and asian countries) in the past few decades is it any wonder countries want a deterrent against the same happening to them?


JLCohen

Sun, 03/07/2010 - 10:58

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Israel has not yet admitted to having - or been proved to have - nuclear capability. However, that's by-the-by in this context because I'm inclined to agree with you once again: I believe that it does have them.

Of course, in an ideal world, neither Israel nor any other nation would have nuclear weapons. However, Israel has not made it clear that it would like to see any nation wiped off the face of the Earth and is not generally considered on the world stage to be as "dangerous" a country as Syria.

If Syria wishes to avoid sanctions and/or being invaded/bombed by the US, surely a better way to go about it would be to allow IAEA inspectors to go about their work unimpeded (Iraq's failure to do having been a major contribution to the second Gulf War)?


Stephen Franklin

Sun, 03/07/2010 - 12:28

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To: John Gold

Unofficial arsenals of nuclear weapons are only illegal under international law if held by members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Pact. Israel is not a member of that pact and never ratified the non-proliferation treaty. Any holdings of nuclear weapons that it may hold are as legal internationally as those of the United Kingdom.


JLCohen

Sun, 03/07/2010 - 18:51

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Although you addressed that to John Gold, thanks for mentioning it Stephen - I wasn't unaware this was the case. I note that Syria is a member of the Pact and has been since 1968.


John Gold

Sun, 03/07/2010 - 22:28

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Guys we're getting into semantics here...

OK, so John you're implying that America (as the world's self appointed policeman - always gets it right when bombing countries? I know that not to be the case)..
The world know that Israel have nuclear weapons.. And you are telling other to play to the rules that you do not adhere to? Is anyone going to take seriously a parent with a cigarette hanging from her lip telling other not to smoke..?
Kind of smacks of hypocrisy...
Israel may have a stable government now, but who's to say a tyrant won't govern the country in the future (and have an unclaimed nuclear arsenal at there fingertips)?


Stephen Franklin

Tue, 03/09/2010 - 15:55

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Israel's system of proportional representation ensures that every government is formed from a coalition of different parties. Such a system doesn't allow a tyrant to come to power.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 03/09/2010 - 16:08

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Under the Israeli system, Stephen, what's to stop a potential tyrant, let's call him Avigdor Lieberman, from setting up a coalition government and then disbanding all the other parties?


John Gold

Tue, 03/09/2010 - 17:25

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I'm sure France, Germany, France (among others) asumed they would never be run by dictators/ tyrants - And regardless of coalitions it seems the right wing are currently wielding a lot of power in Israel...

Anyhow 'Stephen' you ignored the other point I was making, that is why is it OK for Israel to have (unregistered) nuclear weapons but not for others to have them?


DLeigh-Ellis

Tue, 03/09/2010 - 19:00

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John Gold, its ok for Israel to have them because, as Stephen points out, they 'technically' havnt broken any laws... Although as you and I know, this is nothing more than the semantic exploitation of a loophole.

There is a lot of hypocrisy on these boards, especially when the right-leaning try to defend the indefensible. Stephen is right in the fact that PR governments do tend to require on coalition politics to secure their control, however, in no manner does that prevent sociopathic individuals from assuming that control, especially in a country such as Israel where so much politics rests on emotionally driven decisions.

Israel used to be a haven of the left, and people admired and respected it for many decades... Now it is a right wing nest of hawks.... and unsurprisingly it has lost international support... This isn't due to anti-semitism, or even anti-zionism... It is a recognition that the country is on the road to becoming everything it was supposed to stand against, oppression, discrimination and injustice.


John Gold

Wed, 03/10/2010 - 00:52

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DLeigh.

I have to agree with you there, it's a real pity when countries are taken in by right wing politics....
America obviously got fed up with it, and said in effect 'give us a woman or black man' - but no more of this...

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