In the spring 2009 issue of inFOCUS Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Joshua D. Goodman provide an in-depth look into Syria’s al-Kibar nuclear facility. In September 2007, Israel preemptively bombed the facility thanks to intelligence from an Iranian defector.
The Associated Press now reports that in addition to North Korean assistance, the Syrians received $1-2 billion from Iran to build al-Kibar. This underscores Tony Badran’s findings in his recent inFOCUS contribution; Washington will likely face insurmountable challenges in its efforts to remove Damascus from Tehran’s orbit.
The Obama administration, however, continues to insist it can draw Damascus out of Iran’s sphere. After a visit to Syria earlier this month, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman said there was “common ground” between the U.S. and Syria. Similarly, in February, U.S. Senator John Kerry said he was optimistic about “transformation in the [U.S.-Syria] relationship.”