The Financial Times…
As the bloodshed and violence rages on in Syria, Israeli leaders are watching events across the border with a blend of worry, hope and frustration.
One fear is that the regime of Bashar al-Assad will try to draw Israel into the struggle, possibly as part of a last-ditch manoeuvre to divide and confuse the opposition. An obvious flashpoint is the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory occupied by Israel and one of the main points of contention between the two countries.
From The FP…
The State Department has begun coordinating with Syria’s neighbors to prepare for the handling of President Bashar al-Assad’s extensive WMD assets if and when his regime collapses, The Cable has learned.
This week, the State Department sent a diplomatic demarche to Syria’s neighbors Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, warning them about the possibility of Syria’s WMDs crossing their borders and offering U.S. government help in dealing with the problem, three Obama administration officials confirmed to The Cable. For concerned parties both inside and outside the U.S. government, the demarche signifies that the United States is increasingly developing plans to deal with the dangers of a post-Assad Syria — while simultaneously highlighting the lack of planning for how to directly bring about Assad’s downfall.
June 6, 2010
Ha’aretz has revived the mystery surrounding the inability to find weapons of mass destruction stockpiles in Iraq, the most commonly cited justification for Operation Iraqi Freedom and one of the most embarrassing episodes for the United States. Satellite photos of a suspicious site in Syria are providing new support for the reporting of a Syrian journalist who briefly rocked the world with his reporting that Iraq’s WMD had been sent to three sites in Syria just before the invasion commenced.
The newspaper reveals that a 200 square-kilometer area in northwestern Syria has been photographed by satellites at the request of a Western intelligence agency at least 16 times, the most recent being taken in January. The site is near Masyaf, and it has at least five installations and hidden paths leading underneath the mountains. This supports the reporting of Nizar Nayouf, an award-winning Syrian journalist who said in 2004 that his sources confirmed that Saddam Hussein’s WMDs were in Syria.
Fmr. US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton
A report that Iran is about a year away from having the capability to build a nuclear bomb may be too optimistic, contended John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“I worry the publicly available information is giving only a very small picture and that Iran is actually even much further along,” Bolton said today in a radio interview.
Members of the Iranian Air Force attending a prayer ceremony to mark the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha in Tehran on Monday. Photo by: Reuters
Iran will be ready to build a nuclear bomb within a few months, if it desires, Western nuclear experts have told Haaretz. Other experts, who have seen intelligence used in the compilation of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran, have said that Tehran already has the know-how, the technological means and the materials needed to put an atom bomb together within short order.
These experts have concluded that nuclear weapons engineers from Russia, Pakistan and North Korea have been assisting Iranian scientists in their efforts to reach nuclear capability. Haaretz published similar information last week, reporting that experts have said that Iran could carry out underground nuclear tests quite soon if it wants to.
VIENNA (AP) — The U.N. nuclear agency said Friday it is “increasingly concerned” about a stream of intelligence suggesting that Iran continues to work secretly on developing a nuclear payload for a missile and other components of a nuclear weapons program…
Suspected Syrian nuclear facility reportedly bombed by Israel in 2007.
Wall Street Journal report claims Israel, United States monitoring Syrian chemical weapons; concern is that weapons may be transferred to Hezbollah and Hamas…