Libya/Syria/Bolton Housecleaning

Some relevant points on Syria and Libya’s suspected WMD programs that I’ve been meaning to post for a while.


I “posted”: a while back about Bolton’s accusations that Libya was in violation of the BWC. This name-calling strategy was proven pretty much bankrupt when Libya was found to lack such a program.

It _is_ true, as an astute reader pointed out in response to “this post”:, that the “Robb-Silberman report”: mentions some possible loose ends concerning Tripoli’s BW efforts.

But after “looking into”: the report’s Libya conclusions, the evidence for a BW program still seems pretty weak.

I wrote:

The commission did not offer any evidence that Libya had a biological weapons program. Indeed, the report concedes that Libya may not have had such a program, but it also asserts that Tripoli’s declarations “have failed to shed light on Tripoli’s plans and intentions for its biological program.”

Commission spokesperson Carl Kropf told Arms Control Today April 27 that there is a “discrepancy” between the information Libya has provided concerning its biological weapons efforts and previous U.S. intelligence judgments. “Specific information on this point remains classified,” he added.

It’s obviously impossible to say for sure, but the “discrepancy” appears to stem from the IC’s inability to confirm or deny “additional evidence” obtained in the late 1990s that Libya was revitalizing its BW program.

As an aside, I’d be interested in knowing who let U.S. Deputy PermRep to the UN James Cunningham “say”: in September 2003 that “Tripoli is actively developing biological and chemical weapons.” Cunningham said this as the UNSC met to announce the end of UN sanctions on Libya. The public CIA 721 reports from that time said that “Evidence suggested that Libya also sought dual-use capabilities that could be used to develop and produce BW agents.”


“A few weeks ago,”: former NSC official Flynt Leverett was asked about Bolton’s preoccupation with Syria’s nuclear program. Leverett expressed confidence in “U.S. Government representations about Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and its Scud missile force.” But was less confident about U.S. intel regarding possible Syrian BW and nuclear weapons programs:

I do not believe the case is there on nuclear, and I don’t think there’s any evidence there of significance indicating offensive B[iological]W[eapons] capability… I guess it’s theoretically possible the Syrians have it, but I don’t know that we really have the evidence to indicate that they have it.

The nuclear stuff, people occasionally will try to say that Syria’s, you know, somehow pursuing covertly a nuclear weapons program. After the disclosure of the A.Q. Khan network, there has been a lot of speculation that Syria was somehow a customer of that network. I haven’t seen any real evidence of that, and I will just note that as recently as late last year, Mohamed ElBaradei was saying that there is no†you know, Syria cooperates with the IAEA inspection process, and that there is no evidence of any kind of illicit or covert Syrian nuclear activity.

Of course, these are blue-state, non-Fox News facts, so why pay them any heed?

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