Tensions are running high. Troops are gathering at the border. Cross border strikes against terrorists. Terrorists attempting to get Uranium.
The Middle East? No, it's South America.
The news coming about the conflict between Columbia, Venezuela, and Ecuador is not good. The US is backing Columbia, while Cuba is supportive of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela and Ecuador. Add to all of this, allegations of Hugo Chavez funding terrorists (FARC).
However, the most interesting questions that are coming from this situation so far are, how involved was the US and did FARC manage to obtain Uranium?
As far as US involvement goes, the US Southern Command said that it would "neither confirm nor deny" any involvement and then added that "We do provide intelligence support to partner nations but I can't get into details on operations." This could be a legitimate denial, however, Columbia has said that its Air Force was able to pinpoint and hit the camp with missile strikes because of satellite-telephone intercepts. This to me sounds very much like the same methodology that has been used in the past by the US to take out Al Qaeda. Add to this the fact that the US had placed a $5 Million bounty on "Raul Reyes" who was killed in the attack and to me it looks like Columbia may have gotten an assist from the Signal Intelligence guys at Fort Huachuca.
This leaves us with the biggest question of all- Did FARC obtain 50 Kg of Uranium and what did they want to do with it?
There are conflicting reports on this issue. Some reports have stated that FARC DID purchase the 50 Kg of Uranium and others are saying that they TRIED or WANTED to purchase 50 Kg of Uranium.
WHICH IS IT?????? Do we have a terrorist organization out there with a brick of Uranium that they are planning to make a dirty bomb with? Or do we just have a terrorist organization out there with a brick of Uranium that thinks a sale would be a great way to make some extra cash?
Terrorists and Uranium are not words that I personally like putting in the same sentence. These two words together usually mean something VERY bad.
Either situation could be disastrous. FARC having a dirty bomb would allow them to hold a city ransom, or even a small country. FARC having Uranium to sell to the highest bidder --who would probably be another terrorist organization and not the local electrical co-operative-- is also not a scenario I would want to see played out.
While the question of US involvement makes for great spy vs. spy discussion and perhaps the plot of a Clancy book, the question of the Uranium is far more important and needs to be answered.
Do they have it? Did they have it? What are, or where they going to do with it?
See Also: South American "Dust-Up?" Chavez Sells Uranium to Terrorists?