Expect the left to use this story against President Bush in the last days of the midterm elections:
The countries involved were named by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Tunisia and the UAE have also shown interest.
All want to build civilian nuclear energy programmes, as they are permitted to under international law. But the sudden rush to nuclear power has raised suspicions that the real intention is to acquire nuclear technology which could be used for the first Arab atomic bomb.
“Some Middle East states, including Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia, have shown initial interest [in using] nuclear power primarily for desalination purposes,” Tomihiro Taniguch, the deputy director-general of the IAEA, told the business weekly Middle East Economic Digest. He said that they had held preliminary discussions with the governments and that the IAEA’s technical advisory programme would be offered to them to help with studies into creating power plants.
Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that it was clear that the sudden drive for nuclear expertise was to provide the Arabs with a “security hedge”.
“If Iran was not on the path to a nuclear weapons capability you would probably not see this sudden rush [in the Arab world],” he said.
The CIA may have helped Iran to design a nuclear bomb through a botched attempt to channel flawed blueprints to Tehran’s weapon designers, according to a new book on the US “war on terror”.
In an excerpt from State of War, printed today in G2, the author and New York Times intelligence correspondent, James Risen, writes that the abortive operation misfired when a Russian defector on the CIA payroll, chosen to deliver the deliberately flawed nuclear warhead blueprints to Iranian officials in February 2000, tipped them off about the defects.
The operation, codenamed Merlin and approved by the Clinton administration, was intended to send Iranian scientists down a technological dead end, according to this account. They would spend years building a warhead which would fail to detonate. Instead, Risen writes, the operation may have helped Iran to “accelerate its weapons development” by extracting important information from the blueprints and ignoring the flaws.
Here we are, six years out from the Clinton administration, yet it is still having a detrimental impact on the world as we know it. Will the leftist MSM remind Americans that, in reality, it was the Clinton administration that helped Iran advance in its nuclear technology and not the Bush administration? Not with midterm elections only days away and the polls as tight as they are. Instead, they will conveniently forget Operation: Merlin and instead will focus on the Democrats’ drumbeat of “this is the fault of an ‘incompetent’ Bush administration.”
Blue Crab Boulevard is furious because the Democrats have spent all their energies on issues of no consequence for political expediency:
These are the wages earned by the insane focus on the inane waste of time known as Plamegate and all the rest of the hyperventilated sideshows we have endured for years. This is the payback for undermining, at every turn, the elected administration of this nation. This is what happens when bitter screeching partisanship and finger-pointing replaces citizenship and loyal opposition. This is what a partisan and irresponsible media transmits to the world and what convinces our Friends and enemies alike that we are weak and useless, both as a friend and as an enemy. This is the world we are left with. This is the road we are being pushed down.
Charles Krauthammer was amazingly prescient in this March 2006 Time magazine article Today Tehran, Tomorrow the World:
Depending on your own beliefs, Ahmadinejad is either mystical or deranged. In either case, he is exceedingly dangerous. And Iran is just the first. With infinitely accelerated exchanges of information helping develop whole new generations of scientists, extremist countries led by similarly extreme men will be in a position to acquire nuclear weaponry. If nothing is done, we face not proliferation but hyperproliferation. Not just one but many radical states will get weapons of mass extinction, and then so will the fanatical and suicidal terrorists who are their brothers and clients.
That will present the world with two futures. The first is Feynman’s vision of human destruction on a scale never seen. The second, perhaps after one or two cities are lost with millions killed in a single day, is a radical abolition of liberal democracy as the species tries to maintain itself by reverting to strict authoritarianism–a self-imposed expulsion from the Eden of post-Enlightenment freedom.
Hat tip: LGF