Thursday, April 24, 2008

Congressional Briefings on North Korean Aid to Syrian Nuclear Facility

If you've been reading the news today, you've seen that Congress has been briefed by high ranking intelligence officials on the facility in Syria that was bombed by the Israeli's in September of last year. It seems that they have clear information on the nuclear nature of this facility. For the quickest top analysis on this new development, I will direct readers to the people over at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). These are the people who originally found the facility using satellite data and broke the story along with the Washington Post. Below are two relevant paragraphs from their release.

Today, the United States is releasing new information which provides dramatic confirmation that the Syrian site attacked by Israel on September 6, 2007 was a nuclear reactor. The information, including images taken inside the reactor building before it was attacked, also indicates that North Korea helped to build the reactor, which resembles closely the one at the Yongbyon nuclear center in North Korea. ISIS first identified the site in a series of reports beginning October 24, 2007 and continuing on the 25th and 26th., which showed the razing of the site following Israel’s attack. Commercial satellite imagery of the site is available in these reports and subsequent ones.

The release of this information is likely to prompt a fresh wave of questions about North Korea’s commitment to verifiably dismantle its nuclear arsenal and halt its proliferation activities. This new information confirms the need to be concerned about Syrian and North Korean actions, including their nuclear cooperation which dates back many years. However, it should not be seen as a casus belli against Syria or a reason to scuttle the progress being made at the Six Party Talks in disabling and dismantling North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

For more information on questions regarding fueling the reactor and why progress should continue with North Korea negotiations, see the document found here.

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