Is ElBaradei playing us for suckers?

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The ongoing mystery over a Syrian nuclear program continues to interest the international media. In September 2007 Israel destroyed what appeared to be a nuclear facility in Syria, and in April 2008 the CIA released photographs suggesting that what had been destroyed was a clandestine reactor built in collaboration with North Korea.  

The French daily Le Monde has just published a piece saying it has information from "several non-American sources" corroborating the CIA revelations. The newspaper says that among its sources of information are "satellite photos provided by various countries" and other information from "[International Atomic Energy Agency] investigations of North Korean nuclear activities" and "from research carried out by the IAEA on clandestine networks for acquiring nuclear equipment throughout the world."

More disturbing however, is the apparent contradiction between the report in Le Monde and what the IAEA director general, Mohammed ElBaradei, told the Al-Arabiya satellite channel. In a report on the interview from Reuters, ElBaradei is quoted as saying: "We have no evidence that Syria has the human resources that would allow it to carry out a large nuclear program. We do not see Syria having nuclear fuel."

Perhaps, but the article in Le Monde tells us that "two central questions will occupy IAEA inspectors: Where was the fuel for the Al-Kibar reactor [in Syria] supposed to come from? And is there a secret facility in Syria that allows the retreatment of spent fuel? Retreatment is a technology that permits the production of plutonium that can be used in the manufacture of a nuclear weapon. It is by this method that the North Koreans built an atomic weapon which they tested in 2006."

In other words, ElBaradei in his Al-Arabiya interview said that the IAEA did not see Syria as having nuclear fuel, whereas the Le Monde report suggests that the IAEA is investigating whether the fuel may, in fact, have been retreated at a facility inside Syria. I don't pretend to be an expert here, and perhaps ELBaradei is cleverly walking between raindrops in being vague. Perhaps, as Le Monde suggests, he is even protecting the IAEA from accusations that its inspection regime is ineffective. However, if Syria has the means to retreat spent nuclear fuel, or if the IAEA is still looking into that possibility, that's quite different than the more affirmative statement by ElBaradei underlining that his institution does not believe Syria has nuclear fuel.

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  1. Trust the press, or the UN…tough choice, but I’m going with the press.

  2. I was expecting to see an ad from Syria selling nukes. “Buy a half dozen and get a discount!!! Act now.”

  3. North Korea tested a nuke? Where the hell was I?

  4. It was a fizzle, only partial detonation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea#Nuclear_weapons_program

    On October 9, 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.[39] The blast was smaller than expected and U.S. officials suggested that it may have been an unsuccessful test or a partially successful fizzle.[40] North Korea has previously stated that it has produced nuclear weapons and according to U.S. intelligence and military officials it has produced, or has the capability to produce, up to six or seven such devices.[41]

  5. So the good news is, when Syria gives terrorists a nuke it might only kill thousands due to that high-quality North Korean engineering.

    This really sums up Stalinism versus liberal democracy.

    North Korea spends $5 billion out of a gross domestic product (GDP) of $20.9 billion on the military, compared with South Korea’s $24 billion out of a GDP of $1.196 trillion.

  6. Of course the approved answers by the ‘independant thinkers’ will be:

    The USA, puppet of Israel, is making this all up.

    Israel, puppet of America, is making this all up.

    George Bush, baaaadddd!

    Cheney is scary and evil.

    We need more welfare.

    USA must leave Iraq before they build another reactor.

    They only built a reactor because the USA supports Israel.

    Israel built it themselves and bombed it to make Syria look bad.

    If we only had an open dialogue with them this would not have happened.

    We need to send Jimmy Carter to investigate.

    Eventually all of the above points will be in the same article, most likely in The Nation or, maybe Slate.

  7. Oh, worth noting: those Anbari tribes that have joined with the Iraqi government have ties that cross the border with Syria. Some of them have started agitating for a federalist democracy on the Syrian side, which is making the Baathist/Alawite ruling minority nervous.

  8. TallDave,

    Why should they be nervous of peaceful freedom fighters? 😉

  9. Um, oops, totally misread that one.

    Of course they should be fearful of those puppets of the Pentagon!

  10. Intriguing to see the Bush Boys all up in arms about someone getting nukyulur intelligence wrong.

  11. Sigh. So many nations to invade and occupy, so little time.

  12. Chris-

    I think we should leave TallDave and Guy Montag alone to enjoy their fun together. This thread can be their very own little short bus.

  13. We have no evidence that Syria has the human resources that would allow it to carry out a large nuclear program.

    What do you think the North Koreans were doing there? Providing the human resources that Syria did not have itself.

    C’mon al Baradei. We didn’t just fall off the turnip wagon.

  14. I’m devastated by TD and GM’s clever satire of the dhimmibats who are trying to turn us all into burka-clad Islamoflavinoids, but those moonlefts, blinded by ultraclever propagandat of the the Religion of Peace, are too naive and blinkered to see the true threat as they do.

    Did you know Islamofolks’ prophet Mohammed once injected kids with AIDS, and all Muslims are required to blow themselves up 5 lies a day, and then lie about it during termporary marriage ceremonies?

  15. That’s a good idea, thoreau. I just noticed the driver of the bus is Michael Young, which makes it even better. Tell me, Mike, did Lonewacko do the copy-editing for this post (“ElBaradei”).

  16. Given the track record from Iraq, I’ll believe ElBaradei over the US govt any day of the week. Our government has proven that it will lie about nukes, it’ll get intelligence agencies to lie about nukes, and it’ll plant fake stories with foreign intelligence services so that it can say “See, other nations have intelligence indicating so too”.

    Conspiracy theory? Bear in mind, it’s now proven fact that all of these things happened in the runup to the Iraq war – and we still have the same ideologues running our foreign policy now as we did then. Like it or not, the U.S. administration has forfeited its credibility on these issues.

    I have no idea what was at that Syrian site, but if it was a nuclear facility of some sort, I’m fairly confident that the IAEA would have been able to prove it by now. The Syrian government has allowed the IAEA to inspect that site.

    I’ll believe that site was nuclear if/when ElBaradei confirms it. Until then, I’ll be very, very skeptical of such claims.

  17. Considering the fact that US and Israeli intelligence got Iraq’s WMD programs dead wrong, and UN inspectors like ElBaradei got them right, I am less than impressed by Le Monde’s sources.

    It’s not the IAEA’s job to gin up intelligence for you, Young. No matter how badly you want to go to war. It’s their job to talk about what they can prove from their inspections.

  18. By the way, Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [to which Syria is a signatory] reads:

    1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.

    2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

    Syria seems to be in violation of Article III of the treaty, if they had created a nuclear facility without reporting to the IAEA on it. But I am less than outraged by that, considering the fact that Iran’s experience shows that if you report your facilities to the IAEA under Article III the US and Israel will plot war against you.

  19. Here’s Juan Cole on that Syrian site. Whatever that site may have been, it seems unlikely that it was what the U.S. claims it was.

    It bears emphasizing that we supposedly had intelligence indicating the nuclear nature of this site for at least a year before the attack, but the IAEA was never notified of this.

  20. Two questions for Michael Young:

    1) Whom do you want to drop bombs on?
    2) If you want to drop bombs on people, why shouldn’t you be in some sort of prison?

  21. Jesus, even thoreau turns into a prick if Michael Young wrote the article.

    It’s seriously like a tic.

  22. Two questions for thoreau:

    1) How much straw do you like to burn each week?
    2) How can you not understand (or pretend not to understand) the difference between inclination and commission?

  23. I always defer to the opinions of these great Nobel peace prize winners, like Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore & ElBaradei. They’re just so goddamn smart, you know.

  24. Timon19,

    You know, I’m sure your observation is shared by most nonideological H&R readers. But it also helps narrow down the list of people you should take seriously, so I wouldn’t be too sore about it.

  25. Is ElBaradei playing us for suckers?

    May be may be not. But, what I’m sure about is that you and your neocon buddies are trying to play us for suckers. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me … don’t remember how the saying goes, I will have to ask Bush to remind me.

  26. NP & Timon,

    If you kick a dog enough times, eventually it’ll bite you as soon as it sees you. Don’t blame the dog.

  27. Here’s Juan Cole on that Syrian site.

    Juan Cole? Seriously?

    NP,

    It’s a good list to have.

  28. You know, I’m sure your observation is shared by most nonideological H&R readers. But it also helps narrow down the list of people you should take seriously, so I wouldn’t be too sore about it.

    What, precisely, does the bolded portion mean?

    I must say that typically, thoreau is quite the opposite of a knee-jerk type. It’s just that Michael Young, for whatever reason, has gained some sort of reputation bordering on “posting malicious lies” or something that causes instant fang-bearing.

    I think that, even if he’s a bit more hawkish than a typical H&R poster, his writings give some valuable insight FROM THE REGION IN QUESTION. Having traveled somewhat frequently to the other end of the region, I’ve found myself with some perspectives that may run counter to assumptions made here. Viewing and reading media over there is a fairly interesting and different experience than it is here.

    For whatever reason, it baffles many H&Rers to the point of near apoplexy that Young can be THERE and come to some of the conclusions he’s presented. I find it perfectly within reason, even if I don’t agree with him. I see where he’s coming from, at least.

  29. Chris,

    I don’t blame the dog. In fact a friend of mine has a dog that’s cute as hell, and I wouldn’t let anyone kick or do any type of harm to the dog. And I’m afraid I haven’t seen enough kicking to begin with, but I suppose everyone sees through different prisms.

  30. TallDave – I gotta say you and I probably differ on foreign policy, but yeah, a good list it is.

    Timon19 – I agree with pretty much everything you just said. Perhaps I should added “on Michael Young threads” when I wrote that first sentence.

  31. Considering the fact that US and Israeli intelligence got Iraq’s WMD programs dead wrong, and UN inspectors like ElBaradei got them right,

    No they didn’t. The UN thought he was hiding WMD too.

  32. It’s weird that people now act like there was some big argument over whether Saddam had WMD before the invasion. The argument was whether inspections should go on longer, not whether they were needed at all since he had no WMD or WMD programs.

  33. Bear in mind, it’s now proven fact that all of these things happened in the runup to the Iraq war

    Umm, Bramblyspam, still haven’t read that article on the Rockefeller report, have you?

    You know, the one I linked to you yesterday, saying that the major premises cited by Bush for going to war were substantiated by the intelligence we had at the time?

    C’mon, people. Reality-based, remember?

  34. Timon19-

    If I get prickly it’s because I’m sick and tired of seeing the hawks treated as serious people of decent character. The dead-enders aren’t serious people, and they have no character worth mentioning.

  35. That’s the same Rockefeller who said Iraq was an “imminent threat.”

    If I get prickly it’s because I’m sick and tired of seeing the hawks treated as serious people of decent character.

    Heh. Speaks for itself, really.

  36. TallDave:
    No they didn’t. The UN thought he was hiding WMD too.

    That answer is false.” If you contend otherwise, please provide a link.

    The argument was whether inspections should go on longer, not whether they were needed at all since he had no WMD or WMD programs.

    As I recall – and I was following this very closely at the time – Blix & Co. would quite likely have certified Iraq as being WMD-free within another month or so of inspections. Your friendly Bush administration folks weren’t about to let that happen, so they made sure they launched the invasion first.

  37. Yes, TallDave, it says that I have standards. It says that if a person spends enough time continuing to insist that he was right to cheer for a bloody clusterfuck I will eventually lose all respect for that person.

    Tell me, what do you think the response should be to a person who insists that a bloody clusterfuck was a good idea?

  38. Uh, you cited an article from May 2003.

    As I recall – and I was following this very closely at the time – Blix & Co. would quite likely have certified Iraq as being WMD-free within another month or so of inspections

    That is just delusional.

  39. Tell me, what do you think the response should be to a person who insists that a bloody clusterfuck was a good idea?

    If something is so obviously a bloody clusterfuck than you ought to be able to show that reasonably without resorting to ad hominems, which are the hallmark of unseriousness.

    If the “bloody clusterfuck” is still believed by a majority of those affected to be the right decision, if it doubles GDP and the availability of basic services like water, sewer, and electricity while vastly expanding personal freedom and leads to some semblance of liberal democracy, I’d say maybe you ought to re-evaluate what is and isn’t a bloody clusterfuck.

    Or you can just call people names. I know which one is easier.

  40. R C-

    I’ve been looking at the Rockefeller report, and it says that the statements used to start the war were consistent with the estimates of the intelligence community, but did not reflect the significant disagreements within the community regarding the accuracy of those estimates.

    If somebody on your payroll issues a report that says what you want it to say, and you report that your in-house experts have issued reports consistent with your statements, but you failed to note how many experts dissented from that report, you are lying.

    When people lie so that they can go and drop bombs on other people, we have a word for that…

  41. Summarizing the consensus without mention the dissenters is lying?

    In that case, I am going to have to ask Al Gore to return his Nobel Prize.

  42. Sorry, we can only give you store credit.

  43. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Al Gore, TallDave.

    Go get a conscience, then we can talk.

  44. Go get a conscience, then we can talk.

    Ah, I see you went with the ad hominem option. Good to see those high standards in operation.

    I look forward to seeing Iraqis vote in October.

  45. Appeals to intellectual fairness are always the last refuge of the discredited.

  46. Calling people “discredited” and using other ad hominems, on the other hand, show how enlightened and objective one is, and demonstrate high standards.

  47. Guess I’m just not that appealing anymore.

    Oh well, I had a good run. Please have me buried next to my good friends Logic and Reason.

  48. Please have me buried next to my good friends Logic and Reason.

    Drink?

  49. Summarizing the consensus without mention the dissenters is lying?

    Didn’t you just say there weren’t any dissenters?

  50. Hale and hearty as ever, thanks for asking!

  51. Didn’t you just say there weren’t any dissenters?

    Of course not, it’s well-established there was internal dissent over things like what the aluminum tubes were for, with DOE taking one position and the CIA another.

  52. So, when nobody was really sure if there was a weapons program or not, the administration went out and announced that they knew that there was a program and that they knew where the weapons were.

    If I tell you that I’ve measured something in the lab, and I get a value of 1.53672, and I fail to mention that the experimental uncertainty is 0.5, I’m lying my ass off.

  53. Hmmmmm…who to believe?

    The UN nuclear inspectors? Or a newspaper publishing leaks from unnamed US government sources?

    UN weapons inspectors?

    Newspaper story that uses unnamed US government leakers as sources?

    Wow, that’s a tough one. If only we had some sort of record to go on…

  54. Don’t bother, thoreau. The ones capable of adjusting their views to reality have done so already.

    Just take the handwritten mimeographed page, and walk out the subway station to your office. Of, if you feel like it, point and laugh at them.

  55. Now, now, joe. Don’t you know that evaluating claims based (in part) on a source’s track record is an example of the ad hominem fallacy?

  56. Would it be an ad homenim attack to point out that TallDave has turned in Baghdad Bob?

  57. Do you feel the situation in the country is better today or better before the U.S.-led invasion?

    Better today
    5%

    Better before
    90%

    Not sure
    5%

    Source: Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies / Gulf Research Center
    Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Iraqi adults in Baghdad, Anbar and Najaf, conducted in late November 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

  58. HANS BLIX: Well, I think there was no way that Saddam Hussein in Iraq could have reconstituted his nuclear program within years after 2003. David Kay went in, and he came out and said, “Well, there are no weapons, but there are [inaudible] programs.” And then he went out, and in went his successor, and he came out after a year and says there are no programs, but there were intentions. In fact, Iraq was prostrate after so many years of sanctions, and it would have taken them many years to recover and to contemplate any nuclear weapons.

    AMY GOODMAN: What did you understand at the time? What were you saying at the time?

    HANS BLIX: Well, at the time, we were saying that we had carried out a great many inspections and that we did not find any weapons of mass destruction, and we also voiced some criticism of the some cases that the US Secretary of State Colin Powell had demonstrated in the Security Council. My colleague, Mr. ElBaradei, who was the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had revealed that the alleged contract between Iraq and the state of Niger in Africa for the import of uranium oxide was a forgery and that the-also the tubes of aluminum, which had been alleged to be for making of centrifuges to enrich uranium, they most likely were not for that purpose.

    So while the evidence that had been advanced from the US side and the UK side had been very weakened, we had carried out some 700 inspections without finding any evidence at all, and we had actually been to something like three dozen sites, which were given to us by intelligence, and had been able to tell them that, no, there was nothing in them, so that all allegations had been weakened very much, but not to the point of saying that there is nothing, because to prove that there is nothing is really impossible.

  59. So, when nobody was really sure if there was a weapons program or not

    No, everyone was pretty sure he had a weapons program, not least because he kept hindering efforts to investigate such programs at great cost to the country.

    There was never much argument about whether the programs and WMD existed, only their scope; the consensus of the world’s intelligence was that there were such programs and stockpiles and the UN never disagreed. Again, the argument was over whether to give inspectors more time.

  60. i>Now, now, joe. Don’t you know that evaluating claims based (in part) on a source’s track record is an example of the ad hominem fallacy?

    I don’t read anything joe writes anymore. I think I’ll add you to that list as well, since you share his inability to reason.

  61. Except the inspectors, apparently. But who listens to them?

    Seriously, what would Hans Blix, David Kay, and Scott Ritter know about Iraq’s WMD programs?

  62. That’s just as well.

    Everybody else gets to see your claims and my evidence right next to each other.

  63. Although, I will admit enjoying the blank spaces where his posts used to be.

    Ah, the simple joys are the best.

  64. …for the simpleminded.

    This is awesome.

  65. There was never much argument about whether the programs and WMD existed, only their scope; the consensus of the world’s intelligence was that there were such programs and stockpiles and the UN never disagreed. – ToolDave, June 18, 2008

    I don’t think that Iraq is especially eager in the biological and chemical area to produce such weapons for storage (Former UNSCOM chief, Rolf Ekeus, 3/00).

    When I left Iraq in 1998… the [nuclear] infrastructure and facilities had been 100% eliminated. There’s no debate about that. All of their instruments and facilities had been destroyed. The weapons design facility had been destroyed. The production equipment had been hunted down and destroyed (Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, 9/02).

  66. Is thoreau gone? All I’m getting is white space.

    Guess joe’s been busy lol.

  67. I guess so.

    LOL.

  68. Oh happy day!

    ToolDave has found yet another way to manage not to know things that refute what he wants to believe.

    Ell

    Oh

    Ell.

    This is awesome.

  69. Well, in any case, if anyone serious is interested here’s UNMOVIC’s last report.

    http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/unmovic/S-2003-580.pdf

    It notes dozens of violations and obvious lies by the regime and, of course, never states that their opinion is that Iraq does not have WMD and other banned programs, as no official UN document ever said prior to March 2003.

    Like everyone else, they never challenged the consensus, because it seemed obvious a regime hiding things must have things to hide, and the consensus was accepted until the failure to find WMD stockpiles began to raise doubts postbellum.

    Of course, some will nevertheless insist “Bush lied! People lied!” But that’s really their own cross to bear.

  70. That’s in contrast, of course, to the official UN position laid out in Res 1441…

    That Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of Resolution 687. Iraq’s breaches related not only to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), but also the known construction of prohibited types of missiles, the purchase and import of prohibited armaments, and the continuing refusal of Iraq to compensate Kuwait for the widespread looting conducted by its troops in 1991.

  71. Just couldn’t stick to it, could you?

    Ha ha.

  72. My favorite part of the final UNMOVIC report is this:

    8. In the period during which it performed inspection and monitoring in Iraq, UNMOVIC did not find evidence of the continuation or resumption of programmes of weapons of mass destruction or significant quantities of proscribed items from
    before the adoption of resolution 687 (1991).

  73. My second-favorite part of the final UNMOVIC report is this:

    17. From the day of the first inspection in Iraq on 27 November 2002 until the day of the withdrawal of all United Nations personnel on 18 March 2003, UNMOVIC conducted 731 inspections, covering 411 sites, 88 of which had not been inspected before.

    Because it goes so well with the first.

  74. Thoreau,
    Rather than simply telling us that Michael Young should be in jail (!), is there anything in the blog post you care to dispute?

  75. There was never much argument about whether the programs and WMD existed, only their scope; the consensus of the world’s intelligence was that there were such programs and stockpiles and the UN never disagreed. – ToolDave, June 18, 2008

    SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE UNITED STATES SENATEREPORT ON THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY’S PREWAR INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENTS ON IRAQCONCLUSIONSOVERALL CONCLUSIONS – WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION(U) Conclusion 1. Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community’s October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting…The major key judgments in the NIE, particularly that Iraq “is reconstituting its nuclear program,” “has chemical and biological weapons,” was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents,” and that “all key aspects – research & development (R&D), production, and weaponization – of Iraq’s offensive biological weapons (BW) program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War,” either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence…The assessment that Iraq “is reconstituting its nuclear program” was not supported by the intelligence provided to the Committee…The statement in the key judgments of the NIE that “Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons” overstated both what was known and what intelligence analysts judged about Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons holdings…Similarly, the assessment that “all key aspects – R&D, production, and weaponization – of Iraq’s offensive BW program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War” was not supported by the underlying intelligence provided to the Committee…The intelligence reporting did not substantiate an assessment that all aspects of Iraq’s BW program “are” larger and more advanced than before the Gulf War…The key judgment in the NIE that Iraq was developing a UAV “probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents” also overstated what the intelligence reporting indicated about the mission of Iraq’s small UAVs…The Intelligence Community did not accurately or adequately explain to policymakers the uncertainties behind the judgments in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.(U) One of the key failures in analytic trade craft of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was the failure of the Intelligence Community (1C) to explain the details of the reporting and the uncertainties of both the reliability of some key sources and of intelligence judgments… statements in the 2002 NIE that Iraq “has chemical and biological weapons,” “Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort,” and “is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program,” did not accurately portray the uncertainty of the information. The NIE failed in that it portrayed what intelligence analysts thought and assessed as what they knew and failed to explain the large gaps in the information on which the assessments were based….

    But there was never much argument. Really.

  76. And apropos our the topic, more evidence emerges the adults are increasingly in charge on the left:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives struck a deal on Wednesday on legislation to provide $162 billion in new funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ending a long standoff with the White House.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080619/pl_nm/iraq_usa_funding_dc_5;_ylt=AjCw0n8oQr8ou9guB41ChnhX6GMA

    I remember this time last year there were real questions about whether a 3-month funding bill would pass. Now we get a whole year!

    I expect Obama will come around as well, now that he’s out of the primary.

  77. Well, ToolDave was right about the Wright story knocking Obama out of the race, so we should take his predictions seriously.

  78. I can’t wait these polls updated, too, now that Iraq just had the lowest number of both civilian and U.S. casualties in May (despite some very amusing rumors that Al-Sistani was starting a new civil war that was about to make things a lot worse).

    Mar 15th 2004
    Fifty-six percent say their lives are better now than before the war, compared with 19 percent who say things are worse (23 percent, the same).

    http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/GoodMorningAmerica/Iraq_anniversary_poll_040314.html
    ———-

    November 2005 survey…. when by 51%-29% Iraqis said life was better
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2007-03-18-poll-cover_N.htm
    ———-

    March 18, 2007
    Iraqis: life is getting better
    Marie Colvin
    MOST Iraqis believe life is better for them now than it was under Saddam Hussein, according to a British opinion poll published today.
    The survey of more than 5,000 Iraqis found the majority optimistic despite their suffering in sectarian violence since the American-led invasion four years ago this week.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1530762.ece
    ———-

    Date: 17.03.2008
    A poll of public opinion across Iraq, commissioned by four major broadcasting organisations, suggests Iraqis are now more optimistic about their lives and the future than at any other time in the last three years.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2008/03_march/17/iraq.shtml

    I mean, if they’ve been this optimistic for years, even when violence was 700% higher…

  79. Would you personally feel safe traveling to Baghdad and walking the streets alone (i.e. no armed escort), outside the green zone, for half a day?

    If not, you have no business talking about how wonderful things are in Iraq.

  80. I honestly can’t believe there is any doubt here as to why Michael Young receives hostility on these pages.

    Young’s articles consist in the main of a steady drumbeat of excuses for more war in the Middle East.

    As others here have pointed out, he can’t even be bothered to try to come up with a different method for promoting war – he just sticks to the good old Judy Miller paradigm: Find some journalist to take your anonymous “scoop” about the scary, scary activities of some nation in the Middle East.

    His work on Iran has been fundamentally dishonest in the way most hawkish material on Iran has been fundamentally dishonest: it refuses to include the most important point in the dispute, namely that both the US and Iran are signatories to a treaty that says that Iran can develop a nuclear industry and can enrich its own fuel. Young is one of those neocon douchebags who decided that because we don’t like Iran, we get to ignore the rights we have conceded to it by treaty, and we can try to use our influence in Europe and at the UN to try to unilaterally withdraw those rights and to impose a sanction regime on Iran.

    At every step in Iran’s development of nuclear facilities, the IAEA was included as per Iran’s NPT obligations. But every IAEA report on Iran’s legal activities was turned into another occasion for the US and Israel to threaten Iran with war and destruction. Every IAEA report on Iran’s legal activities was turned into an excuse for the US to try to use the Security Council to trump international treaty and law, and to punish Iran for activities it had an absolute treaty right to pursue. And guys like Michael Young went along with that, because they want war and won’t be satisfied until there is a war with Iran. Period.

    So Iran finally said, Well, if continuing to report to the IAEA is going to produce these results, fuck it – hit the bricks, IAEA. And they were perfectly justified in doing so, as far as I can see.

    And as for why I am annoyed with Young today, back in the day Young even went so far as to publish conspiracy theories purporting to explain how Iran really, truly, secretly had progams that our NIE said they didn’t have.
    And now he’s publishing articles trying to exploit the gap between statements about what the IAEA can prove and what some unnamed newspaper source suspects in order to cast doubt on the IAEA generally – and it’s transparently obvious to me that the reason he wants to do this is so that when the IAEA comes out and says, “Iran’s program is peaceful” he can say “You guys didn’t catch Syria, so you’re wrong and we don’t have to listen to you and woo hoo now we can have war war war war ZOMG bomb bomb bomb oooo let me drink the blood of children please yahagagagagrgagah!” And I am not kidding or exaggerating and I shit you not.

  81. I would expect the IAEA to give vague public reports about an investigation. A prosecutor does the same thing. First, they face more repercussions from a mistaken report than a newspaper would. Second, they don’t want to show their whole hand if they plan to keep looking for more evidence.

  82. Mr. Young has done some fine reporting over the years. Fluffy, please post the link to the nonproliferation treaty when you get the chance.

  83. From TallDave’s third linked poll:

    Fifty-three per cent think security in areas where the surge was concentrated is worse

    Sixty-one per cent think the presence of US forces in Iraq makes the security situation worse

  84. Text of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty

    Article IV says:
    1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.

    2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

    So legally, Iran has every right to build whatever peaceful nuclear facilities it wants, and the U.S. has an obligation to *help* it do so. As a separate matter, article VI also commits the states with nuclear weapons to pursue negotiations in good faith towards a treaty of complete nuclear disarmament. Needless to say, I haven’t seen any of the relevant nations doing that.

    As things stand, the treaty is U.S. law. If we don’t like it, that’s fine, but legally speaking we should at least withdraw from the treaty before violating it.

  85. you are correct, you are not an expert and seem confused about what fuel is/could be used in their reactor and subsequent fuel reprocessing. You should do remedial studies at armscontrolwonk.com

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