Ambassador: Claims about Syria are 'Iraq déjà vu'

The head of the UN nuclear monitoring agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, criticised the US for withholding intelligence information about a so-called nuclear reactor in Syria. ElBaradei likewise hit out at Israel for bombing the site before inspectors could investigate.

Last September 6, Israel bombed a Syrian building at Dair el Zor. Little was said in public, by either Israel or Syria, but later the Israelis started claiming that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor.

Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, told the BBC that "This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted 'intelligence' to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda." Cirincione added ominously "If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should."

Syria's ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, said photos the United States provided to him Thursday don't prove anything.He argued that they weren't taken in Syria and that there was no proof they came from Syria. "I had to ask myself, is this Hollywood or Foggy Bottom?" he said, calling it "Iraq déjà vu."

Is this meant to promote a war with Syria and/or nearby Iran, or torpedo negotiations between the US and North Korea (the latter supposedly involved with Syria)?

Meanwhile, the U.S.’s top military officer Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq.

[Includes excerpts of articles by CNN, AP, and John W. Farley, Counterpunch]

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