Friday, October 19, 2007
Syria has begun dismantling the remains of a site Israel bombed Sept. 6 in what may be an attempt to prevent the location from coming under international scrutiny, said U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the aftermath of the attack.
Based on overhead photography, the officials say the site in Syria's eastern desert near the Euphrates River had a "signature" or characteristics of a small but substantial nuclear reactor, one similar in structure to North Korea's facilities.
The dismantling of the damaged site, which appears to be still underway, could make it difficult for weapons inspectors to determine the precise nature of the facility and how Syria planned to use it. Syria, which possesses a small reactor used for scientific research, has denied seeking to expand its nuclear program. But U.S. officials knowledgeable about the Israeli raid have described the target as a nuclear facility being constructed with North Korean assistance.
The bombed facility is different from the one Syria displayed to journalists last week to back its allegations that Israel had bombed an essentially an empty building, said the officials, who insisted on anonymity because details of the Israeli attack are classified.
While U.S. officials express increasing confidence that the Syrian facility was nuclear-related, divisions persist within the government and among weapons experts over the significance of the threat. If the facility was a nuclear reactor, U.S. weapons experts said it would almost certainly have taken Syria several years to complete the structure, and much longer to produce significant quantities of plutonium for potential use in nuclear weapons. Nuclear reactors also are used to generate electricity...
Oh, so by all means, we should wait for them to complete it, then wait to see what they do with it...