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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Syrian nuclear program quite advanced

By Olivier Guitta

Recently, Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Seyassah quoted European intelligence sources as saying that "Syria has an advanced nuclear program" in a secret site located in the province of Al Hassaka, close to the Turkish and Iraqi borders. British sources quoted by "Al Seyassah" believe that "it is President Assad's brother, colonel Maher Assad, and his cousin Rami Makhlouf, who supervise the program". This program is based on the Iraqi material that Saddam Hussein's two sons shipped to Syria before and during the war against Iraq. This explains, according to the daily newspaper, why international investigative teams found no proof of the program.

Furthermore, the British sources in Brussels affirm that "Iranian nuclear experts contribute to the Syrian program along with sixty Iraqi experts who had taken refuge in Syria since 2003 and experts from the ex-Soviet republics". British intelligence also confirm that this information is validated by their German counterparts, who was well established historically in the countries close to the ex- communist block, including Syria. Europeans fear that by focusing solely on the Iranian nuclear program, one might facilitate a much more quieter joint Iranian-Syrian program of uranium enrichment in Hassaka. Also, the geographical choice of the nuclear site is very meaningful. Indeed, because it is located in an area with a Kurdish majority, the program evades suspicions, and also striking against these installations will initially touch the Kurdish community who has historically sided with the West against the Baathists regime of Bagdad and Damascus.
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