Syria’s President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year’s war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Western intelligence officials believe that President Asad is desperate to get the Iraqi scientists out of his country before their presence prompts America to target Syria as part of the war on terrorism.
The issue of moving the Iraqi scientists to Iran was raised when President Asad made a visit to Teheran in July. Intelligence officials understand that the Iranians have still to respond to the Syrian leader’s request.
A group of about 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam’s regime. The transfer was arranged under a combined operation by Saddam’s now defunct Special Security Organisation and Syrian Military Security, which is headed by Arif Shawqat, the Syrian president’s brother-in-law.
The Iraqis, who brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam’s nuclear programme, were given new identities, including Syrian citizenship papers and falsified birth, education and health certificates. Since then they have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts.
Read it all. Then read the Captain’s comments, which include:
Let’s recall that Syria is a member of the UN Security Council, supposedly a member of the body that Kofi Annan says has to approve our actions in defense of our own security … and also a member of the counterterrorism committee for the UN, a laughably inappropriate assignment. This UNSC member-state allowed Saddam’s nuclear scientists to flee just ahead of the invading Americans, which means that Syria knew the Iraqis had not complied with any of the 16 resolutions calling for its disarmament.