Analysis: The Syrian Nuclear Puzzle
Council on Foreign Relations
May 1, 2008
Author: Greg Bruno
Beyond the dispute over timing is the broader question of motivation. At a news conference on April 29, Bush said the release was aimed as a warning to nations pondering the spread of nuclear weapons; he singled out Syria, North Korea, and Iran. A senior administration official, detailing the sequence of events in a background briefing for reporters on April 24, went further. The official said the disclosure was intended “to advance a number of policy objectives,” from serving as a potential trump card in negotiations with Pyongyang over its own nuclear program (AP), to compelling the international community to take action against Iran for its suspected nuclear-weapons development.
But some observers see other motives in pulling back Syria’s nuclear curtain. Andrew Semmel, the former top State Department official for nonproliferation, tells Voice of America the release may have been aimed at “putting a positive spin” on intelligence that was bound to leak.
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