Why is there silence on Syria's nuclear program???
And, where is the IAEA???
The United States has joined other major powers in a dangerous conspiracy of silence on Syria's nuclear program. Syria foreswore nuclear weapons when it ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1969. To assure the world that it is fulfilling that commitment, Syria also signed a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1992.
Yet Syria was able to secretly buy a nuclear reactor from North Korea, a country facing the most restrictive sanctions regime in the world. If Israel had not bombed the Al-Kibar reactor site in an air strike in September 2007, it would be producing plutonium by now for Syria's first nuclear bomb.
But this violation of Syria's treaty commitments was not discovered by IAEA inspectors. And the program was not halted by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. So it has been convenient for world powers to let Syria slip off the radar and to move on as if these events had not occurred.
It is by no means certain that Damascus has given up its nuclear ambitions. Since November 2008, nine IAEA reports (the latest released last month) have documented Syria's noncompliance with its requests for more details about its nuclear program
Syria has not provided plausible explanations for the presence of man-made uranium particles found by the IAEA in 2008 at Dair Alzour, the site of the bombed reactor. More worrying, the agency has discovered uranium conversion experiments at a research reactor in Damascus, which Syria had failed to report. (Uranium conversion is a necessary step toward creating weapons-grade uranium.)
Syria has acknowledged that it has used yellowcake (necessary to initiate uranium enrichment) in these experiments from the Homs facility, which benefited from IAEA technical assistance. However, it has not provided access to the facility, saying it will postpone substantive discussions and verification of these materials until March or April 2011.