The bad news is that Syria apparently has enough uranium, unenriched, for 5 nukes. The really bad news is that if Assad falls, that uranium may end up in the hands of
1. The Muslim Brotherhood
3. Al Qaeda
So one lucky murderous Islamist terrorist group is likely to end up with a whole lot of uranium. And we might even get to decide which one.
1. If the Obama backed Muslim Brotherhood sweeps in quickly enough, they might be able to seize all that uranium. Perversely this isn’t the worst case scenario because due to its seizure of power in Egypt (thanks O), the Brotherhood already has access to plenty of nuclear materials and is moving forward with a nuclear plant.
However having a whole lot of uranium fall into the hands of Muslim Brotherhood militias is different than having it fall into the hands of a Muslim Brotherhood government. Those militias, despite their outward piety, are often made up of men who will steal anything that isn’t nailed down and then resell it. And those who aren’t thieves, will still smuggle and sell it to support other Islamist wars around the world.
2. Hezbollah. If Assad falls quickly, he will have a whole lot of stuff to dispose of. That includes the Uranium. Getting it to Iran would be a pain, but getting it to Lebanon would be a lot easier. And Lebanon is currently controlled by Hezbollah’s allies and Hezbollah is controlled by Syria.
3. Al Qaeda. Despite Obama’s efforts to help the Muslim Brotherhood take over Syria, Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front appears to be performing much better on the battlefield and has already captured quite a number of strategic locations. It is entirely plausible that the Al Nusra Front may capture WMD stockpiles as well.
David Albright, the head of the US-based Institute for Science and International Security think-tank, and a leading expert on the Iranian nuclear programme, said there were legitimate concerns about a uranium stockpile in Syria.
“There are real worries about what has happened to the uranium that Syria was planning to put into the Al-Kibar reactor shortly before the reactor was destroyed in 2007,” he said. “There’s no question that, as Syria gets engulfed in civil war, the whereabouts of this uranium is worrying governments. There is evidence to suggest this issue has been raised by one government directly with the IAEA.”
An IAEA inspection team visited the destroyed Al-Kibar site in May 2008 and only found traces of uranium. This merely added to the mystery of where the 50 tonnes of uranium, if it exists, might be. Such a stockpile would be enough, according to experts, to provide weapons grade fuel for five atomic devices.
Fear not, Hagel, Brennan and Kerry will be on this. They’ll even stop by the winner’s house with some more free uranium as a show of good faith.