HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

Syria: Iran's Secret Project Home?

Friend of ThreatsWatch and respected counterterrorism expert Olivier Guitta has written an important analysis in the Middle East Times, Iran's secret Syrian plan. Few have given this dynamic much public consideration, but Olivier has been considering both the likelihood and potential consequences for some time.

Another proof of what transpired came from ranking Republicans on the House Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Peter Hoekstra, who were briefed on the Israeli strike and sworn to secrecy. They wrote an op-ed in the October 20 Wall Street Journal clearly underlining the seriousness of the situation regarding both the North Korean and Iranian involvement in the Syrian arms program.

Finally, the fact that the Bush administration (including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and most notably Defense Secretary Robert Gates) has been ramping up the rhetoric and taking action against Iran (including the latest sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) in the past week, might also be linked to what really happened in Syria.

The Syrian story is far from over: in fact, on October 23, Al Seyassah ran a story about potential new secret nuclear sites in Syria. According to Western sources cited by the paper, it is possible that Syria is developing other nuclear sites with the help of North Korea, Iran and Iraqi experts, the latter who fled their country at the start of the Iraq war in 2003. In fact, observation satellites have allegedly located in Syria at least two other sites similar to the one destroyed by Israel last month.

Iran's handwriting is all over the wall from the chemical to the nuclear arms program in Syria.

Considered also should be a piece he referenced in the above, one which we have linked and shared here in the past. Consider again Olivier Guitta's Plan B: Syria’s forgotten — but dangerous — nuclear program from last December.

German magazine Der Spiegel revealed in March 2004 that Swedish authorities and the CIA were investigating a very likely Syrian nuclear program secretly developed in Homs in the northern part of the country. That July, investigators looking into the Pakistani nuclear network of A.Q. Khan pointed out that Syria may have procured centrifuges capable of enriching uranium to produce a bomb.

This fact was confirmed in May 2006 in a declassified report to the U.S. Congress on the acquisition of technology relating to weapons of mass destruction. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Syria also got help from Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Keep in mind that Syria’s economy was very dependent on Iraq’s trade, especially oil-smuggling revenues. Sunday Telegraph journalist Con Coughlin affirmed in a September 2004 article that 12 Iraqi nuclear scientists — who were transferred to Syria and given new identities before the war — were on their way to Iran to assist their counterparts there in building a nuclear weapon. “The results of the research would then be shared with Syria,” Coughlin added.

But what really broke the camel’s back was a recent report from the well-informed Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Seyassah. It 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 the paper believe that “it is President Assad’s brother, Colonel Maher Assad and his cousin Rami Makhlouf, who supervise the program.”

And as the Annapolis meetings draw near, it is clear to some that Hamas-caretaker Syria has become the Annapolis prize. Syria seeks the Golan heights. An informed Washington may be seeking something which is quite different and unseen in public discussions.

1 Comment

Good material for thought, Steve. Another factor impacting the Iran/Syria nuclear question is the influence and support of China for Iran's nuclear ambitions. I'm hoping to have an analysis on that aspect up at IntelFusion this week.