Friday, February 20, 2009

Now, Syria's Weapons of Mass Destruction

First, the troubling news ...
(17 February 2009 ) - UPDATED: London (19 th February 2009) - Syria Appears to be Developing its Chemical Weapons Capability IHS Jane’s examined satellite imagery

Jane’s Intelligence Review used satellite images from commercial sources gathered between 2005 and 2008 to examine activity at the chemical weapons facility identified as Al Safir in northwest Syria. Imagery from DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1 satellite and GeoEye’s IKONOS satellite shows that the site contains not only a number of the defining features of a chemical weapons facility, but also that significant levels of construction have taken place at the facility’s production plant and adjacent missile base. This does not suggest that Syria is arming itself for an offensive, but it could have regional security implications given Syria’s tension with its neighbour, Israel.

Christian Le Mière, editor of Jane’s Intelligence Review, concluded:

“Further expansion of Al Safir is likely to antagonise Israel and highlight mutual mistrust, even as peace talks between the two neighbours progress intermittently. Although an Israeli air strike on the facility may not yet be likely, such developments only serve to underline and exacerbate regional tensions.”

Do you like consistency in your world? Here's some (hat tip Galrahn, from Thursday, February 19, 2009):

North Korea is operating a secret underground plant to make nuclear bombs from highly enriched uranium (HEU) despite denying that such a programme exists, a South Korean newspaper said Wednesday.

So, what's the good news? As it turns out, IHS Jane's, which provides critical information, decision-support tools, and related services to customers in the energy, defense, aerospace, construction, electronics, and automotive industries worldwide, is publicly traded (NYSE: IHS). At its close of $41.75 yesterday a share was down about $32 ( ~ 57%) from its 52-week high. No recommendation to buy is being made here.

As a matter of fact, M.E. might not even buy on further weakness, because IHS currently PAYS NO DIVIDEND. So, do you think IHS is going to chance being wrong about the possibility of chemical weapons in Syria when its reputation could be at stake? Neither does M.E.

The good news, then? The U.S. is not a socialist country. We can still choose our own doctors, fire them, if we want, and obtain health care consistent with urgency of need and prevailing medical practices (which are still world class). True, insurance costs are too high, and too many folks are uninsured, but jobs are still available.

Because the U.S. is a capitalist country, we set a very high bar for socialist countries. Here, for example, is another problem we do not have: Iceland's Minimum Salary Lower than Unemployment Benefits. The minimum monthly salary in socialist Iceland is lower than monthly unemployment benefits, approximately ISK 130,000 and 150,000 (USD 1,200 and 1,300), respectively. Iceland has a problem with the imbalance because it has declared itself bankrupt. Now it is in the position of having to borrow to pay some of its growing unemployed more than they would actually earn if they worked.
Socialist states would rejoice if their only source of true competition (U.S. capitalism) were eliminated (converted to the lowest common denominator - socialism). Lowered standards for socialist governments would ensue and poorer prospects and living conditions for subjects.
What would Europe's opinion of America be, if capitalism were abandoned in the U.S.? The U.S. would become an instant hasbeen, a pathetic beginner and a mere footnote to European history.



At 20 February, 2009 15:38, Blogger Comrade Tovya said...

I wrote about the same thing this morning. I'm sure the Israeli government has a plan of action... hopefully another airstrike on Syria in the near future?

At 20 February, 2009 19:27, Blogger Vigilis said...

Well C.T., my humble blog is honored to have received your attention. Thank you for commenting. We welcome your visits.

In reality, we suspect the White House has known of Syria's WMD facility for months. It has been reported that the Syrians have been anxious for George W. Bush to leave the White House, and are welcoming President Barack Obama, who has also shown a desire to engage Damascus. Sen. John Kerry, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is scheduled to visit Damascus this weekend.

Assad said, "We never clenched our fist. We still talked about peace even during the Israeli aggression in Gaza."

Assad had commented on the U.S. congressional delegations arriving in Syria since early February: "Sending these delegations is important. This number of congressmen coming to Syria is a good gesture. It shows that this administration wants to see dialogue with Syria. What we have heard from them - Obama, Clinton and others - is positive."
Assad's congratulatory letter to Obama on his inauguration, promised cooperation on the peace process.

Obama had promised during his presidential campaign to conduct a dialogue with Syria once he reached the White House. He has repeated the same upon becoming president, and his words have been echoed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Obama's Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, is expected in Syria mid-year, followed by Jimmy Carter, who would be making his third visit in one year to the Syrian capital.

We can be hopeful and remain very cautious.


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