Det spekuleres nå i at Syria kan inngå i en ny «ondskapens akse» sammen med de to gamle Iran og Nord-Korea. En ulykke med lasting av sennepsgass på en langdistanserakett sier noe om hva de sysler med.

Det var Jane Defence Weekly som kunne fortelle om ulykken i juli der titalls syrere og nordkoreanere mistet livet.

Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last week that dozens of Iranian engineers and Syrians were killed in July attempting to load a chemical warhead containing mustard gas onto a Scud missile. The Scuds and warheads are of North Korean design and possibly manufacture, and there are recent reports that North Koreans were helping the Syrians to attach airburst chemical weapons to warheads.

Det er liten tvil om hvem raketten var ment for, og det kan være verdt å tenke over for et land i et fredelig hjørne av verden. Hvordan ville nordmenn reagert om de leste at feks. Sverige utstyrte sine langdistanseraketter med sennepsgass og siktet dem mot Norge?

Nyheten om det israelske raidet får frem gamle opplysninger om samarbeid mellom Nord-Korea og Syria.

The outlines of a long-term arms relationship between the North Koreans and the Syrians are now being reexamined by intelligence experts in several capitals. Diplomats in Pyongyang have said they believe reports that about a dozen Syrian technicians were killed in a massive explosion and railway crash in North Korea on April 22, 2004.

Teams of military personnel wearing protective suits were seen removing debris from the section of the train in which the Syrians were travelling, according to a report quoting military sources that appeared in a Japanese newspaper. Their bodies were flown home by a Syrian military cargo plane that was spotted shortly after the explosion at Pyongyang airport.

In December last year, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah quoted European intelligence sources in Brussels as saying that Syria was engaged in an advanced nuclear programme in its northeastern province.

Most diplomats and experts dismiss the idea that Syria could master the technical and industrial knowhow to make its own nuclear devices. The vital question is whether North Korea could have transferred some of its estimated 55 kilos of weapons-grade plutonium to Syria. Six to eight kilos are enough for one rudimentary bomb.

«If it is proved that Kim Jong-il sold fissile material to Syria in breach of every red line the Americans have drawn for him, what does that mean?» asked one official. The results of tests on whatever the Israelis may have seized from the Syrian site could therefore be of enormous significance.

En av grunnene til tausheten fra USA kan være at betydningen av aksjonen er så stor at man trenger lang tid på å bestemme konsekvensene.

Snatched: Israeli commandos ‘nuclear’ raid