January 24, 2004

Libya Nuclear Components Said Headed for U.S.

Hat tip to Little Green Footballs for this link to a Yahoo/Reuters story: bq. Acting swiftly to ensure Libya's pledge to give up nuclear weapons is implemented, the Bush administration may bring to the United States as early as next week centrifuges and nuclear material at the heart of Tripoli's program, senior U.S. officials say. bq. Documents and drawings from the Libyan program arrived in Washington on Friday. Centrifuges, uranium hexafluoride and other nuclear-related equipment "are in the next round, probably next week," one official told Reuters. This is excellent news - if this transaction were being handled by the UN or the IAEA, they would still be having meetings well into 2005 with the stuff just sitting there. bq. Most, if not all, of the nuclear components will go to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Energy (news - web sites)'s largest science and energy laboratory. This is good - not only is it a secure site, it also has some excellent labs. We will be taking each piece apart down to the atomic level so we can identify countries of origin, their level of technologies and who else might be trying to assemble a bomb. And more: bq. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi pledged on Dec. 19 to abandon efforts to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in a surprise deal with old adversaries Washington and London. As I said before, his son is very pro-West, educated and is in line to take over when Muammar retires. Each of them see the writing on the wall and see that it is better to align themselves with the economic powerhouse of the West instead of the medieval backwater of Fundamentalist Islamic society. bq. But a dispute erupted between the Americans and the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the U.N. watchdog that usually has the job of overseeing dismantling of weapons of mass destruction programs -- over the IAEA role in Libya. bq. Last Monday, IAEA chief Mohamed Elbaradei said he had agreed with U.S. and British officials that his agency would verify Libya's dismantling by U.S. and British experts. Would you like some cheese to go with that whine... The UN and Old Europe still do not get it - their day has passed. bq. But U.S. officials insisted the IAEA role will be secondary. "The IAEA can come and watch while we're doing it and say, 'yes indeed (the weapons-related items) were moved from Tripoli to the United States,"' one U.S. official said. bq. "But this is our agreement with the Libyans -- and we're going to implement it," he said. Absolutely - to whom did Gaddafi go when he decided to realign his country? To some place effective. Excellent news - good to see this happening on a timely basis. Posted by DaveH at January 24, 2004 8:14 PM