Saturday, January 12, 2008

Syria Rebuilds Attacked Site

By Cernig

According to the NY Times, which has satellite pics, the Syrian government has begun rebuilding on the site which has been tentatively identified as that bombed by the Israelis back in September. Of course, since neither Syria nor Israel have ever confirmed what was attacked, that this is the correct site is conjecture, although reasonable conjecture.
air attack was directed against what Israeli and American intelligence analysts had judged to be a partly constructed nuclear reactor. The Syrians vigorously denied the atomic claim.

Before the attack, satellite imagery showed a tall, square building there measuring about 150 feet long per side.

After the attack, the Syrians wiped the area clean, with some analysis calling the speed of the cleanup a tacit admission of guilt. The barren site is on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, 90 miles north of the Iraqi border.

The image released Friday came from a private company, DigitalGlobe, in Longmont, Colo. It shows a tall, square building under construction that appears to closely resemble the original structure, with the exception that the roof is vaulted instead of flat. The photo was taken from space on Wednesday.

Given the international uproar that unfolded after the bombing, “we can assume it’s not a reactor,” said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that has analyzed the Syrian site.
And if this one isn't a reactor, it seems more likely now than ever that the last building wasn't either.

Still, the way the site was cleared would make telling what the original plant was almost impossible, with one exception: we can be utterly sure that the last plant wasn't a working reactor unless Syria is OK with it's top nuclear scientists glowing in the dark. If the plant had had sizeable amounts of nuclear material on site, as some of the most lurid and Cheney-ised reports at the time had suggested, then no amount of bulldozing would make it safe to build on now.

The Syrians, however, refused the IAEA permission to inspect the site, which is highly indicative of something they really don't want the international community looking at.

I'm back to my original suspicion - a missile fabrication plant designed to mate North Korean designed improved Scuds to chemical warheads.

Update Dr Jeffrey Lewis dubs the new building the Monopoly House on the Euphrates (MHE) and writes:
I think Andy — aka the Nonpartisan Pundit — hit the nail on the head in the comment section when he cautioned those concluding the bulldozing of the site was suspicious about jumping to conclusions:
To be fair, let’s consider the possibility that Syria intended to rebuild this building, whatever it was. Would they not “scrape” and flatten the area to place a new foundation on?

Additionally, the two other structures in the facility, including the alleged pump-house, remain. It seems to me if Syria wanted to hide all evidence of a reactor, it would dismantle these as well. Of course that may be the intent, but something the Syrians have not yet accomplished.

Hopefully ISIS will buy future imagery of this site to monitor progress to see what happens.
There has been a certain tendency on the part of the “nuclear reactor” crowd to interpret all actions in light of that assumption (Syria must be destroying the evidence!) rather than consider alternative possibilities of the sort that Andy raised.

I still prefer the hypothesis that it is Bashar al-Assad’s naked swimming pool.

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