Friday, October 26, 2007
Via Jeffrey Lewis over at Arms Control Wonk comes this NY Times article on the pressure the Bush administration is feeling from the right over its North Korean deal. Here's the key graf:
One senior administration official, who has seen the intelligence about the Syrian site and advocates a tougher line against North Korea, said he was frustrated that even in light of possible North Korean help on a Syrian nuclear program, “we are shaking hands with the North Koreans because they have once again told us they are going to disarm.”
From the moment North Korea was mentioned in connection to whatever Syria was doing out in the desert that warranted an Israeli airstrike, it was clear that there was more at stake here than just regional nuclear politics. Lewis goes through the recent satellite imagery and finds it inconclusive, whether as proof that the structure was a nuclear facility or that it was based on North Korean designs. (The fact that Syria has apparently swept the site clean probably means we'll never know for sure.) He also points out that the intelligence we've heard about so far has been leaked by the Bush administration insiders who lost the internal debate, that is those who argue for a tougher stance on North Korea and by extension Iran (ie. Cheney et al).
That's not to say that the intelligence is false. But keep this in mind as more of it gets leaked.