The U.S. intelligence community has been recently ramping up the "Syrian threat", affirming this week for the first time that Syria's nuclear aspiration is of "growing concern."
"We are looking at Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern," the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center, headed by the C.I.A., said in its semi-annual report to Congress this week.
The report's only explanation for the "new concern" was an observation that Damascus now has "broader access to foreign expertise (which) provides opportunities to expand its indigenous capabilities."
"Boy, that is really thin," said Vincent Cannistraro, former director of intelligence programs at the National Security Council. "It looks like they (the intelligence officials) are tacking to the prevailing political winds generated by the neo-conservatives."
He was referring to civilian leaders at the Pentagon and elsewhere in the U.S. administration who have been taking a hard line against Syria.
On Tuesday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved broad economic and trade sanctions against Syria, mirroring legislation passed by the House in October.
Meanwhile, Syria, for its part, said it is being punished for its support for the Palestinians, after the U.S. Congress approved legislation providing for the tough sanctions against Damascus.
"The Senate voted as expected for economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria because of its support for the resistance of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation," the official Syrian Arab news agency reported. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )