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IAEA In Syria: Who Are The 'New Crazies'?

The headline reads "U.N. expert: Deeper Syrian nuclear inquiry needed." Initial reaction rings, "You don't say..."

An initial probe of U.S. allegations that a Syrian site hit by Israeli warplanes was a secretly built nuclear reactor is inconclusive and further checks are necessary, a senior U.N. atomic inspector said Wednesday.

Olli Heinonen, a deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was satisfied with what was achieved on his four-day trip but "there is still work that needs to be done" in following up on the claims that Syria was hiding elements of a potential nuclear arms program.

A senior Syrian official saw it differently, however. Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa told the Hezbollah-owned Al Manar TV station that his country allowed the inspectors to visit the site in the remote eastern desert to prove the accusations from Washington are false.

Once again, the IAEA lags far behind the operational curve. And once again, a recalcitrant state is prepared to drag 'process' to its outer limits to forestall and potentially avoid consequence. The frustrating process is unfolding before your eyes. And the Syrians, North Koreans and Iranians are smiling at our reluctance.

The Iran-NoKor-Syria plutonium endeavor is but the latest program - nearly operational before it was bombed and halted by "new crazies" - the IAEA was clueless about. We should not necessarily expect the IAEA to sniff such things out. They are not an intelligence organization, after all. But by the same token, the IAEA organization and its leadership should stop projecting themselves as the sole valid guarantors against proliferation.

Readers will have to forgive my cynical tone lately regarding the IAEA and their dealings in Iran and Syria. It's simply frustrating to watch while the IAEA Director, Mohammed ElBaradei, continues to inject his politics into his apolitical position and mandate (inspections) and insist that he and an IAEA with a near-zero success record on non-proliferation are the only valid defensive barriers between Iran and nuclear weapons.

Insane is defined as repeating the same thing and expecting a different result. When looking at the IAEA's past failures in detecting and/or stopping past nuclear weapons programs (name one it halted), one has to wonder precisely who the "new crazies" are within context of the definition.

NOTE: May like to see - NRO: Whew! IAEA 'Satisfied' With Syria Trip