Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What Was in the Building?

Drudge is reporting that the arrival of that North Korean ship in a Syrian port prompted the recent Israeli airstrike against a suspect nuclear facility. According to CBS News, the raid destroyed a building that was believed to house nuclear equipment, although no one has specified the type of hardware. Other media accounts suggest that the building was located an an "agricultural research complex" near the Syrian border with Iraq.

CBS doesn't have anything on their website, suggesting that they're holding the story for tonight's Evening News. While the report (once again) suggests a nuclear link between North Korea and Syria, we still don't know what was on that ship, a cargo that, presumably, made it way to the research facility, prompting the Israeli airstrike. Equally puzzling is Pyongyang's decision to send the equipment by ship, risking the possibility of detection/boarding by U.S. or Israeli naval crews during its transit.

One thing is certain: future shipments of sensitive cargo between North Korea and Syria will move by air, not on the water (assuming the cargo can fit on an IL-76, or a charter transport).


Andy said...

The current theory among the some in the arms control community is that the equipment may be used to extract uranium from agricultural phosphates. That could provide a source of uranium for a weapon's program, but an enrichment capability would still be needed - something Syria is not even in the initial stages of.

davod said...

I read somewhere that thy already extract the uranium so they can use the phosphates for agricultural use.

Storms24 said...

The UK Times reported the North Korean ship's cargo was listed on the manifest as "cement." Is NK really that big of an exporter of cement? Any thoughts on the idea that this specific cargo was used to hide radioactive materials or equipment (or a cement-walled container ship)? It would seem to be a relatively low-tech concealment technique that the NK's would favor.