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Dennis P. Halpin
Dennis P. Halpin, a former Foreign Service Officer and senior Congressional staff, is a consultant on Asian issues.
A scarcely noted imagery brief posted by the Institute for Science and International Security on June 30 carried this ominous report: “The destroyed reactor site in Syria is now under the control of ISIL/Daesh, which is apparently dismantling and possibly conducting excavation activities at the site. Its intentions are unknown. There is no new information about Syria’s supply of uranium that would have been used in the destroyed reactor, although it is not believed to be at the reactor site or in the hands of ISIL/Daesh. New information adds support that Syria intended to build a plant to separate plutonium from the reactor’s irradiated fuel.” (The reactor site is located in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria where ISIL fighters reportedly massacred 900 members of the Al-Shaitat tribe in 2014 when they resisted ISIL occupation of the area.)
If it were not for 'Operation Orchard' ... ISIL fighters could well be armed today with atomic weaponry rather than just captured U.S. tanks and Kalashnikov rifles