Ex-Mossad chief fears Syria, Egypt have bought nuke parts

By David Horovitz January 2, 2005

The former Mossad chief and national security adviser Ephraim Halevy has raised fears that Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt might have acquired some kind of nuclear capability via an illicit nuclear weaponry trafficking network operated by A.Q. Khan, one of the key scientists behind Pakistan’s nuclear program.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Halevy, who resigned as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s national security adviser in late 2003, referred to a New York Times article from early last week that detailed the scale and possible recipients of what the paper termed ‘the largest illicit nuclear proliferation network in history.’

Khan, Halevy said, had been ‘purveying his goods extensively in the Middle East.’ And while Israel was understandably concerned by the threat of Iran going nuclear, he went on, ‘maybe we should be looking beyond the lamppost. Maybe the lamppost is Iran and we should be looking elsewhere.’

Specifically, he said, there were ‘question marks’ about Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Halevy stressed that he had no firm information, and indeed that he’d not had any recent access to classified information. But it ‘could well be’ that those countries might have a nuclear capability Israel was not aware of. ‘It’s certainly something that should be looked at,’ he urged.

The Times article noted that the United States and its allies had apparently failed to detect that Khan began selling nuclear technology to Iran in the late 1980s, ‘the opening transaction for an enterprise that eventually spread to North Korea, Libya and beyond.’

And it said that while US President George W. Bush has boasted that the Khan network has now been dismantled, investigators doubt this is the case.

American intelligence officials and the International Atomic Energy Agency are still untangling details of Khan’s travels to 18 countries in the years before his arrest last year, the paper reported. Among the countries he visited, apparently ‘to buy materials like uranium ore or sell atomic goods,’ were Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. And federal and private experts quoted by the Times said that ‘Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Algeria, Kuwait, Myanmar and Abu Dhabi were all on the suspected list of customers.’

‘The most delicate investigations’ in the hunt for ‘nuclear rogue states,’ said the Times, were those involving important US allies ‘including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.’ No hard evidence of clandestine nuclear arms programs had surfaced, it said, although ‘suspicious signs have emerged’ regarding Saudi Arabia.

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