Intelligence sharing on al-Qaeda and other matters between Syria and the US resumed in July of 2008. Similarly, intelligence sharing between Syria and Britain resumed in November of 2008. Yesterday, a report published by the UN supports the notion that Syria has “not cooperated with the Agency since June 2008…” Coincidence? Hardly.
The UN Report presented by a team of experts on the illegal activities of North Korea refers to Syrian non-cooperation with the IAEA to visit sites inside Syria as well as the Assad”™s regime refusal to provide any additional documentation on the North Korean-designed bombed reactor in Deir al-Zour.
Although one can argue that Israel, by design, is filling the void having been the country to discover and destroy the Syrian nuclear reactor, the US may have traded the possibility of a nuclear Syria for human intelligence it should be equipped to handle independently given the CIA”™s concentrated efforts on human intelligence since 2006.
To highlight the UN report, President Obama chided North Korea yesterday for its provocative activities He said: “Today, the Korean peninsula provides the world’s clearest contrast between a society that is open and one that is closed; between a nation that is dynamic and growing, and a government that would rather starve its people than change. It’s a contrast so stark you can see it from space, as the brilliant lights of Seoul give way to utter darkness in the north”. One can almost exchange South Korea with Israel and North Korea with Syria in this speech. But, unfortunately, seldom are the remarks to confront Assad these days for his oppression and tyranny.
In the dynamics of the North Korean export activities, Syria and Iran are the two nations most able to damage the balance in the region. Not one that dictates any military balance but one that dictates the kind of societies the world should no longer tolerate. Both countries have adopted an aggressive policy on nuclear acquisition for the sole purpose of surviving any internal uprising in an atmosphere of tyranny and economic deprivation. Should they kill thousands of their own citizens the way the Assads killed over 20,000 Syrians in 1982 in Hama just to punish 200 Muslim Brotherhood fighters, both countries can avoid responsibility by using their arsenal as weapons of extortion. Take that constant away and the world does not have to worry about any new Holocaust-in-waiting clearly manifested by the Syrian and Iranian lack of cooperation on the nuclear track.
Pressure on Iran and North Korea has remained a constant. But pressure on Assad of Syria has weakened following the intelligence resumption in 2008. With this report, it is inadmissible that the US intelligence community continues to ignore Assad when funding, training, and acquisition of human intelligence has been given the priority it deserves by the US Congress and both White House Administrations. It is time to severe the umbilical cord with Syria and rely on our abilities and those of our allies to keep our interests safe while we send a message of our intolerance for nations of oppression. It is time to hold Assad”™s feet to the fire for his nuclear clandestine activities. Weaken Assad and Iran pays the price.
Furthermore, with US troops exiting Iraq, let the Iraqis defend their nation from Assad”™s trademark suicide bombs given the Iraqis have committed politicians and a public already seething with anger at Syria and in particular at the Assad personae.