Israel’s Syrian Strike

227999081_354f7c0acf_m "After Israel shared its intelligence with the Bush administration in recent months, which included satellite imagery, the United States provided Israel with some confirmation of the original information before Israel went ahead with the night air raid on September 6, the Post reported.

The quality of the Israeli intelligence, the nature of North Korea’s assistance and the seriousness of Syria’s atomic activities remained uncertain, the Post wrote."  AFP


I have been thinking this over and I see three possibilities:

1- North Korea and Syria really were dumb enough to do this out in the desert where there are hardly any activities that would "cover" the construction and operation of some sort of nuclear storage or manufacturing facility.  I know for a fact that the Syrians are extremely wary of US information collection capabilities and now are equally aware that the Israelis also have similar capabilities.  The chance that this activity would be "missed" was virtually nil.  But, Syria has done a lot of dumb things in the past.

2 – This strike; the secrecy mumbo-jumbo, the Bush cuteness at the press conference, and the "naughtiness" of Bibi may all be part of an elaborate propaganda campaign.  Some propagandist will say that I am a "conspiracy theorist."  Nevertheless, governments do these things.  Objective?  Syria for the Israelis and Iran for us.

3- Israeli civilian and military intelligence may just have screwed up the intelligence analysis on this.  Let’s see, how could this have happened?  – Someone in Syria sees a few North Koreans, – Someone on the telephone in Damascus implies that the North Koreans are there to do some thing "spooky." –  Some other source indicates that the North Koreans in Syria are doing something in northern Syria, –  A ship sails from North Korea to a Syrian port, – Reconnaissance photos show some interesting construction work or other activity at the site later bombed.   This is briefed to the cabinet who are "deeply troubled" at the implications.  It is then briefed to the Americans who look at their own even better snapshots.  They White House is then told that "it" is possible.  Ah Hah!

That could not happen?  You need to read up on how the Iraqi "purchasing mission" to Niger was manufactured out of rumor, spit and a desired outcome.

Which is it?  Beats me!  I need more data.  pl

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52 Responses to Israel’s Syrian Strike

  1. Wayne White says:

    So far, Pat, and despite all of the informed speculation feeding off mere fragments of information, I couldn’t agree more. This incident remains a question mark, in part because of some of the issues you raise.
    And when one considers what is required to ramp up a serious nuclear program, it would seem unlikely that if anything nuclear was out there, it was of much consequence.
    One important side-bar to this story is whether or not the Turks allowed the Israelis to use their airspace for part of the approach and return.
    Best regards. WW.

  2. JoeC says:

    Armscontrol Wonk cites reports (mainly the nelson report – anyone have thoughts on the credibility of such?) that the site attacked was likely some form of missile storage site. They also suggest that some reports that this site was related to uranium extraction from phosphates are not credible and they also have an interesting chronology of media treatment of this attack.

  3. JoeC says:

    One further thought is that the info cited at Armscontrol Wonk would support Col. Lang’s options 2 and possibly 3.

  4. Andy says:

    Of course the possibility you don’t list but is the most likely, imo, is none of the above. I’m surprised the “nuclear” angle has gotten as much traction as it has – probably because the press has a tendency to hear “nuclear” and go ape. Anyway, it seems much more likely to me that the target was more mundane and conventional. Some of the theories circulating are Scuds or air defense equipment. Another possibility is some advanced weapon system for Hezbollah. Remember the C-802’s from last summer?

  5. J says:

    israel and our d.c. wingjuts just spent a lot of moola (price of the missiles used) to send to smithereens a bunch of bags of cement. just like they spent bookoo moola back in o6 trying to zero in on a bunch of weather gear spare parts in cyprus. sheez louize.

  6. LarryM says:

    Well I’m so far off the reservation on this stuff now that I don’t really even care if #1 is true. But trying to put my Col. Pat Lang honorable, sane, interventionist hat on for a moment, it almost doesn’t matter for another reason. At this point, with so much mendacious behavior in the past by the administration, and with the looming possibility of an attack on Iran, don’t we almost have to assume it’s two or three, even if option one would be legitimately concerning?

  7. CSTAR says:

    Just 3 possibilities?
    You don’t seem to mention the dry run (Israeli airstrike on Iran) possibility.
    Also doesn’t Turkey have some kind of military agreement with Israel? The Turks aren’t going to be too happy that something happened so close to the border.
    The dumb scenario you propose sounds just too…dumb.
    Hmmm keeps us all speculating around this event, meanwhile….

  8. Peter Principle says:

    Col. Lang: Some propagandist will say that I am a “conspiracy theorist.” Nevertheless, governments do these things.
    It does kind of dovetail with this:
    The option that Wurmser allegedly discussed was nudging Israel to launch a low-yield cruise missile strike against the Natanz nuclear reactor in Iran, thus “hopefully” prompting a military reaction by Tehran against U.S. forces in Iraq and the Gulf.
    Maybe an strike inside Syria was perceived as a low risk alternative — i.e. the “small solution” to the “big solution” of an full fledged attack on Iran — one that would force the Syrians to respond in some way that would lead to escalation, eventually dragging in the Iranians?
    If so, the Syrians definitely don’t seem to be taking the bait. They may do “dumb things” from time to time but they’re not THAT dumb.

  9. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I think of myself as being against intervention in others’ business. pl

  10. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The more possibilities, the better. I happen to like these three.
    Rehearsal on Iran? So they fly up to Turkey, through Turkish airspace, over to Iran, then down to where? Natanz? Long ride. With how many airframes and what ordnance? pl

  11. GSD says:

    Col. Lang,
    If the story is true, that North Korea is working with Syria to develop a nuclear program and they were caught red-handed wouldn’t the appropriate US response be to end any negotiations with the North Koreans immediately?
    I mean helping Syria build a nuclear program isn’t exactly “responsible” and that is the term The Decider always tosses about when it comes to dealing with so called rogue nations. So if the US continues to work with North Korea the US will be “rewarding bad behavior” as it is known in Cheney-speak.
    So I think we need to cast an eye on how the US proceeds with North Korea.
    Just a thought.

  12. Charles I says:

    Re Pat’s #3, as I wrote below in the Iran posts, there are just so many wild cars here, preemptive perpetrators are pissing in the wind. How about all three of PL’s scenarios synergisticly operating at once – a very drunken 3d chess game – and just on one tiny square of the board? All of this is going to come out very badly no matter what moderating rational counsel may be available.
    I’m at the point where I hope several severe comeuppances are delivered sooner rather than later – because later all these preempted people and their supporters/sympathizers are going to be baying for a lot more than an Israeli comeuppance. It will be too late for any rational discourse – although by the gibberish coming from Washington & Jerusalem we are at that point now.
    Next year, next decade, next generation, there will be wmd/nanotechnology available to Israel & America’s victims/enemies – and not just to the helpful democracies – that is
    impossible to defend against.

  13. Charles I says:

    CSTAR, you must have more faith in people, governments’ and armies’ endless capacity for doing stupid things – especially in the fog of war, and maybe even more so in the fog of BS that precedes the war. Nobody knows what the hell is really going on, which makes the possibility of ignorant behaviour seeming stupid later. The Cold War didn’t totally explode because arms control was predicated upon verifiable knowledge about the state of your adversary/treaty partner’s most destructive arms. Even if divining mysterious power struggles was based upon who stood where on Lenin’s mausoleum.
    Imagine if that was absent during any number of crises in which we know so much less than we did about the Soviets and vice versa. And obviously we know squat about the ME.

  14. Bob says:

    Here’s an alternative view of the Israeli attack from Trich Schuh at (aka Syria Comment):

  15. Montag says:

    The only hard evidence that’s been presented are those photos purported to be discarded Israeli drop tanks found on Turkish soil, which the Turks aren’t too happy about.
    Geez, someone call the Psychic Help Line–Madame Zelda seems to be the only one without an ax to grind on this one.

  16. Bobo says:

    The intriguing part of this is everyone (in the know) is trying to keep it quiet.
    With a North Korean ship in Syria you would think our Navy, who spends big bucks keeping track of commercial vessel movements, would have already checked out the vessel while it was enroute to Syria. Thus to me the nuclear issue is off the table.
    With North Korea’s protest, before thinking, its obvious they lost something/someone dear. Thus missle parts, chemical weapons or more mundane military hardware is most likely the case.
    As to the silence, could Israel have lost a plane or a few people in this escapade.

  17. Rick F says:

    Let’s not forget what Ron Suskind described as the Cheney “One Percent Doctrine” — if there’s a one percent chance that something “dangerous to American interests” might become real, it’s treated as a certainty by this Administration for planning and/or execution purposes. 🙁

  18. Will says:

    Nukes in the Mideast. The Israeli Dimona facility was a gift of the French retaliating against Egyptian support for the Algerian insurgents. A plutonium facility, it was perfect for making bombs. There were warnings from Eisenhower and JFK b/ the Israelis finessed them. Peres has taken credit as being the father for the bomb.
    I have seen a report somewhere that Gamal Abdul Nasser’s build up in the Sinia was a smokescreen for a Soviet special forces operation on Dimona. That operation was called off when Israel took advantage of the Egyptian forward deployment to start the six day war. That may be the reason they targeted the USS Liberty they may have thought it was a Soviet operation to take out Dimona masquerading as a US vessel.
    Unsaid anywhere is the hypocrisy of it all. A nuclear Israel possessing a triad of delivery, a non-signatory of the non-prolif treaty complaining about Syria and Iran. The Chutzpah. The second irony- aggression, violation of airspace, violation of UN resolutions (continued occupation of Golan), treatment of Palestinians means nothing. the only UN resolutions that count are the ones the flatheads want to use as swords.
    Such is the power of the Israeli Lobby.
    We just went thru this yellowcake, aluminum tube, portable bio lab stuff cycle a few years ago. Yet the flatheads are ready to subject the gullible public to it again. And the WashPost is ready to be spoonfed drivel by Bolton & Co, & Cheney’s office stovepiping apparatus.
    Miscalculations start with hyping. I was just reading about the 50’s bomber gap. The soviets actually only had 20 which were conflated to 600. Then there was the missle gap which turned out to be baloney b/ which scared the soviets enough to forward deploy their missiles to Cuba.
    for fascinating reading read wiki for
    bomber gap
    missle gap
    and from the doctor strangelove movie
    the mineshaft gap

  19. Will says:

    Something not addressed. the Russian Navy base at latakia. How come that radar did not pick up the jets?
    the news reports are that Turkish intelligence participated w/o knowledge of the new government. the new prez Gul no longer calls himself Islamist but conservative- his wife wears a headscarf and the Turkish military is snubbing her and denigrating him.
    The reports are that the aircraft came into Syria from the Med and on their return skirted turkish air space.

  20. eaken says:

    Would there be any reason for the Israelis, besides the need to high tail it out of Syria, to drop their fuel tanks?
    The Israelis talk of having restored their deterrent capability and having the ability to “get in and get out”. This would imply that they can overcome Syrian radar correct? Would they be able to overcome the radar on the way in but not the way out?
    Also, I am surprised no satellite photos have been produced.
    Based on what I know about past Israeli behaviors following strikes, etc. and their generally breaking out the orchestra afterwards, it seems fairly evident the mission was a failure.

  21. David W says:

    Personally, I think the story about Syrian nukes is bunk, and as real as Saddam’s purported efforts at the same.
    Notwithstanding the lack of a real plausible motive on Syria’s part, the ‘tell’ in this story, imo, is the ‘North Korean nuclear technicians’–why would they fool around with the nascent North Korean nuke program when they could presumably deal with A.Q Khan and the Paki nuclear tech?

  22. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Some random scenarios for Israeli strike against Iran floating around on the Internet [Googled “Israel attack Iran scenario]:
    So, what about the old Israeli concept of using Turkey and Iran against the Arab States. Now they want to vaporize their dear Cyrus, foreclosing future possibilities??? Dunno…
    I recall some briefings in Israel I once had from their military per chemical warfare issues and the threat to Israel. How many square meters can one warhead cover with whatever? 20,000? or?..folks are going to get their gas masks on in time??? Don’t think so and neither did those briefing me.
    I suppose some stuff could drift around blown by the winds into Arab Palestinian areas as well Israel being as tiny as it is…course who knows what the ceps are…
    Do any Iranian missiles have a simple chemical capability and the ability to deliver against Israel?
    Seems to me there is a lot of loose talk and posturing going down.

  23. LarryM says:

    No disrespect intended. It was merely a shorthand way of referring to what I understand to be your historical support of a fairly traditional United States foreign policy view, which includes a fairly robust role in the world (albeit in your case a fairly restrained version of same). From where I sit, “interventionist” is a fairly neutral description of that viewpoint. But certainly by current standards, you’re less interventionist than … well, 95% of our political leadership, at least. Which, from my perspective, is a good thing.

  24. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The Israelis believe in the symbolic power of sonic booms and dropped fuel tanks. Thye used to do it all the time in various places in the ME. They think it is a “reminder.” pl

  25. swerv21 says:

    ive got a couple of mine. they go from the merely implausible to the just plain ludicrous:
    1. prelude to negotiations and resolution of the golan. in order for olmert and barak to claim that ‘israeli deterrence has been restored’, a line trumpeted a lot lately by ex-idf types, and to subsequently allow the israeli public to feel that they are negotiating with the arabs from a position of stregnth, they cook up this raid as a way to demonstrate that it was they who cast the last unanswered slap. this would account for the muted syrian reaction. they enter into secret nogotiations as they enhance kadima’s domestic position. olmert can then produce an israeli consensus view that it was the right time to sign a peace deal with syria.
    2. neo-con seedlings. just like the ied/ iran story last year, this is another small story that somehow gets implanted into the media. Sometimes the judy miller method works well here. stories can be leaked by officials who then subsequently cite them as proof. this elaborate construction of smoke and mirrors is then used as a justification later to. . .justify about anything to the public with citations to spare.

  26. zanzibar says:

    Israeli leaders pissed at Bibi for confirming Syria attack.
    I just don’t buy that the North Koreans are helping Syria develop clandestine nuclear reactors. Nuclear technology is complex and not easy to hide. The North Koreans were barely able to detonate a device. The yields were so low when they did it there is certainly some doubt if it was a real nuclear device. On the other hand if it were the Pakistanis involved that could mean something else.
    The Israelis are convinced they own their neighborhood so can act as they please and take out targets anywhere their aircraft can fly irrespective if the threats are real or just perceived. At this juncture the Syrians and Lebanese don’t have the muscle to retaliate – but maybe that changes sometime. Paybacks can be a bitch.

  27. mt says:

    In Los Angeles the symbolic power of boom boxes and vehicles that drop & pop are legendary. Good times.

  28. Will says:

    the next big story. the indirect election of the President of Lebanon by the Parliamentarians.
    128 total members, before deaths. Majority would be 64+1. March 14 forces have 68.
    “Al-Safadi: we won’t take part in electing a president with half+1 quorum (Translation thanks to
    Tha’ir Abbas of Asharq Al Awsat, an independent Saudi owned newspaper, wrote on September 19: “The Lebanese public works minister Muhammad Al-Safadi, the head of the parliamentary Tripoli Coalition which is part of the March14 bloc, settled the issue of his coalition over the issue of the quorum necessary to elect the next president with his announcement to Asharq Al Awsat in Beirut yesterday that he will not accept to participate in electing a president with the half+1 quorum and that he will not recognize the legitimacy of any president elected solely by the March 14 team of which his coalition, which includes four MPs, is part. Al-Safadi warned strongly against electing the president with a half+1 quorum and considered that doing so “will expose the country to a risk of civil war”.

    March 14 is Hariri, Jumblatt, Kataeb(Phalange) & C0. March 4 is HA, Amal, Aoun & Co. March 4 contends the Constitution requires a three fifths quorom to hold an initial meeting. They say they will deny a quorom unless a consensus candidate is agreed on beforehand. It all supposedly starts Sep. 25. In cases of deadlock there is the potential for two rival gov’ments.
    It looks like the next president would be Not March 14 nor March 4 but outside of either camp. Gen Michel Suleiman- the chief of staff. It would take a constitutional amendment b/c of less than six months b/n time of military and civilian service.
    Syria and Saudi are backing different candidates. Some attribute this factor to their recent tiff.

  29. johnf says:

    Does it really need to have been about anything but gestures and PR? Israel got a pretty good drubbing last autumn in the Lebanon and its air power was shown to be pretty useless. Maybe it felt a gesture was neccessary.
    I don’t think there’s going to be a war against Iran. We’ve had two years now of almost constant hysteria about being on the brink of it. So maybe it was felt a gesture should be made. It could be used to test out Syria’s missile defences (new Russian ones have possibly just been installed, though that is murky). You can spin it as a dry run for a nuclear attack on Iran. Then it can further be spun as some sort of nuclear/North Korean for gullible westerners to start worrying about. It keeps the mills of fear a-turning.

  30. jonst says:

    I take it then that you conclude there was something ‘affected’, or ‘staged’ in Bush’s response, or non-response, the other night?
    I thought it odd and put on,planned, when I saw it live.
    Random thoughts….second odd incident involving a nuclear story in the past few weeks. Recall recent the nuclear tipped cruise missiles on US plane story? Can’t be connected. Still, some odd things abound.

  31. I know “messages” do get sent as part of the continuum of the diplomatic/military spectrum. But given the current status and delicacy of negotiations or whatever you would call it with the two remaining “Axis of Evil” countries would the Israelies do anything involving them without clearing it by consultation with the US? Of course the reverse also concerns me, does Israel get full consultation from the US before it acts with respect to those countries? Strangely, we know historically that N. Korea has been a very very active supplier of technology and weapons in S. Asia. Could this be more of the same? I never could understand the N.Korean strategy except where they receive cash in hand for technology and technical assistance.

  32. W. Patrick Lang says:

    To my own list of possibilities I would add the Israeli fear of a loss of deterrence. pl

  33. Martin K says:

    The N. Korean-ship theory sounds really strange to me. NATO has an almost perfect lockdown on both the Straits and Suez and I can not imagine a North Korean civil vessel going unchecked. If there was a bombing at all, I would guess it was some weaponsystem delivery for Hezbollah coming in over land through Turkey, hence the message of the fueltanks.

  34. Arun says:

    Strangely, we know historically that N. Korea has been a very very active supplier of technology and weapons in S. Asia.
    South Asia is India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and sometimes Afghanistan is counted. North Korea has been active only in Pakistan, as far as I know.

  35. Arun says:

    The point being, why say “South Asia” when you mean “Pakistan”?

  36. Will says:

    facts of the Israeli-Syrian strike
    Name: Operation Orchard
    Aircraft: “Raam F15I – the newest generation of Israeli long-range
    bomber, which has a combat range of over 2,000km when equipped with the drop
    tanks. eight aircraft,
    including Israel’s most ultra-modern F-15s and F-16s equipped with Maverick
    missiles and 500lb bombs. Flying among the Israeli fighters at great height,
    The Observer can reveal, was an ELINT – an electronic intelligence gathering
    Sunday, September 16, 2007
    The Observer (UK): accessed thru

  37. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    The attack on Syria was intended to be an act of symbolic foreshadowing.
    When information remains lacking, I offer for consideration the following “methodology’: relying upon techniques from the art of dramatic writing, e.g. constructing a dramatic structure. If the end game — the next act — is the IDF attacking with US approval Iranian nuclear facilities, then this event most definitely is symbolic foreshadowing.
    There is evidence that supports this view. It is a quote from Bolton in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (hat tip: Gordon Prather at awc). Bolton — in the same vein as Wursmer:
    “We’re talking about a clear message to Iran – Israel has the right to self-defense – and that includes offensive operations against WMD facilities that pose a threat to Israel. The United States would justify such attacks.”
    This message wasn’t intended for Western consumption. The audience is Iran.
    Of course, if this is correct, then this foreshadowing is evidence that the USG will act in manner that will put US ground troops at risk in Iraq. It is further evidence that the USG has a greater loyalty to Wurmser’s Weltanschuaang than to the protection of US ground troops in the Iraq. It supports the idea that the Baghdad-Basra supply line should be protected by whatever means necessary.
    Seems to me that the Israel’s fear of a loss of deterence increases odds of attack.
    Caveat: Subsequent information may throw this analysis out of the template of a coherent dramatic structure. It just is a way to reach rebuttable presumptions as to intent. Also, it relies on the assumption that the end game is an attack on Iran.
    Also Porter article re: attack may be worth a gander.

  38. Dana Jone says:

    There has been much speculation about the Israeli violation of Syrian airspace on Sept. 6, with the Syrians claiming that the IDF planes were detected and forced to turn back and dump thier bombs in the desert. Israel has been unusually quiet about he whole thing, allowing speculation about bombing a suspected Syrian nuclear or missile site. Now usually the IDF would be bragging to the whole world about an attack if it was successful.
    I suspect however that they were actually on the way to IRAN when detected and forced to abort the mission. The only proof lays in the Syrian desert, IF they dumped “bunker busters” when forced to turn back. Only the Syrians (and I presume the Iranians by now) know for sure (and of course the IDF and US). There are only three routes the IDF can take to Iran, the southern one goes through Saudi airspace, but is the most direct to the nuke plant at Bushehr, but if the Saudis say no, that leaves the middle route over Jordan and through Iraq. Of course how do the Iranians tell the difference between US F-16’s and IDF F-16’s coming out of Iraqi airspace and decide who to retaliate against? We’d sure hate to loose a carrier or two if the IDF forgot to leave a calling card. The last and longest route is the northern one over Syria and northern Iraq, but they could be detected by the Syrians and would have to abort the mission. Also, they would not need external fuel tanks to strike a target in Syria, only if they were going to Iran. This is why I feel it was a failed attempt at hitting Iran and the IDF is just happy to let everyone speculate about nukes in Syria.

  39. Cold War Zoomie says:

    ” Flying among the Israeli fighters at great height, The Observer can reveal, was an ELINT…”
    This doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. I would suspect that you always want to see what “lights up” once the guys on the ground detect you.
    Rivet Joint is an example.
    My only question would be, whose aircraft was it?
    (If The Observer is right.)
    As a note, I’ve only been on one of these things once for a 15-minute briefing and that was 20 years ago. So I’m kind of talking outta my a$$.

  40. dan says:

    Per the terms of the UNSC mandate which authorises US military presence in Iraq, the US is formally obliged to prevent the violation of Iraqi airspace by unauthorised third parties.
    Given that the current Iraqi government refuses to recognise Israel, it’s unlikely that Maliki would even take the phonecall from Olmert; then again, it’s inconceivable that the IAF could “punch” through Iraqi airspace without the active complicity of the US military – and Iranian military retaliation against the US would be perfectly lawful. I don’t imagine the subsequent political wreckage would be much fun either.
    Obviously, getting the IFF codes for “operations” in Syria that bring one’s planes close to US controlled Iraqi airspace might be useful if you’re trying to use the Kurdish corridor to get into Iran, but it’s still an awful long flight from there to either Isfahan or Natanz.
    At any rate, I’ve always thought these putative Israeli bombing plans a touch silly: getting to the targets is hard enough, getting one’s pilots and one’s planes back would require miracles – fancy flying to dodge SAM’s and/or enemy aircraft consumes a lot of fuel.
    The Israeli “plan” has always been to persuade the US to do the dirty work.

  41. WILL says:

    folks there’s a wikipedia article on operation orchard that even gives the squadron involved. Go figure.
    of course you’d have to know the name of the operation to access it. the previous article name had been 2007 syrian air strike or such.

  42. Agree with note that South Asia only Pakistan has demonstrated N. Korean interest but they also have had activity reported in South Asia.

  43. Walrus says:

    I was going to say something about something but that could literally lead to a knock on the door so I won’t.
    Instead I’m content to say the following. Neither Israel or Syria is saying much about this at all. That tells me something.
    What if Israel wanted to give a Iran and Syria a warning and test their air defences at the same time?
    What if they decided to do this by attacking a Syrian secret facility that the Syrians are not too proud of… a CBW storage compound? Perhaps the story about the Scud/Chemical warhead accident is cover?
    That would explain the reticence by both parties.

  44. JohnS says:

    Via Joshua Landis:
    “Trish Schuh is the only Western journalist to actually go to Deir al-Zur, the area where Israeli plans are said to have attacked a missile depot.” 
    What did Trish Schuh find?
    “Several days ago, after the attack on Syria’s ‘nuclear program’, I spoke to western oil company officials in Deir Ez Zor.  One technician told me they routinely monitor radiation as part of the refining process. They registered no heightened levels of nuclear residue in the area as there would have been if the Israelis had hit a North Korean atomic stockpile. Operations and technical foremen put it this way: ‘The nuclear claims against Syria are pure bullsh*t.’  
    The Syrian smoking gun is the complete lack of any mushroom cloud.”

  45. John Shreffler says:

    It was chemical warheads on NORK Scud-C’s, according to Larisa Alexandrovna:

  46. dana jone says:

    What if the Israeli claims about nuclear materials are just a smoke screen to hide the fact they dumped Depleted Uranium ‘bunker busters’ in the middle of the desert when they were detected by the Syrians on the way to Iran and forced to abort the mission?
    What if the Israeli commandos didn’t “seize” NK nuke materials, but planted it instead? How the hell would anybody know if the stuff came from NK anyway? Are we to take the Israelis word alone for it? Who else could verify it?
    The IDF would love to have another Osirak moment when they bombed the Iraqi reactor in ’81 and didn’t lose a single plane. Ain’t gonna happen again, not in Iran. Too many people both over and under estimate Iranian capabilities, but the ones that underestimate are the ones that scare me, like the Admiral that stated that we can “take out” the Iranian military “no problem”. It would only take one Iranian missile hitting the hanger deck of a flat-top full of planes fueled and armed for bombing runs to erase that illusion, and cost us thousands of lives all at once. They arn’t called “The Crazies” for nothing.

  47. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Alistair Crooke’s take:
    …”The Syrians saw on their radars the four fighters that penetrated into Northern Syria from the Mediterranean; but they also saw the much larger numbers of Israeli aircraft that were flying in a holding position close to Cyprus. The Syrians were not about to disclose their anti-aircraft missile capacities to Israel; and the intruders dropped the munitions and their long-range fuel tanks without pressing any attack, but returned to join the larger group still flying a holding pattern off Cyprus before all returned to Israel as a single formation.
    The Israeli objective remains a matter of speculation, but the general conclusion is that Israel was only ready to run such a risk against unknown air defenses either as a proving run or, given the size of the numbers of aircraft off Cyprus, to destroy some target that for whatever reason they were unable to engage. Either way, the mission seems related to future conflict……”
    in Syria Comment at

  48. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “The Syrians were not about to disclose their anti-aircraft missile capacities to Israel;…”
    Maybe that’s where the Rivet Joint-like aircraft reported earlier comes in. If true, the Syrians may have suspected this was a probe to get them to light up their spectrum for all to see.
    This is what happens when someone can capture all that info:
    Constant Source
    We had one of these terminals where I worked. A budy of mine said he was watching threats disappear from the screen during our bombing raid on Libya in 1986, or it was the predecesor to Constant Source he was watching – I can’t remember.
    I’ll add my usual caveat: I’m just throwing out ideas here.

  49. Will says:

    ” Clients of Yes, Israel’s sole satellite television provider, have had to put up with frozen and fuzzy images and sound disturbances for weeks, with the company unable to pin down the source of the problem.
    The company, which provides services to nearly one million clients, warned that it risked bankruptcy because customers were abandoning it in droves, so the government stepped in to look for the cause.
    Israel now suspects that the source of the disturbances, which began following an Israeli air strike in Syria on September 6, originate from Dutch and German ships of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. ”
    how about that?
    it’s the UN ships messing up the sattelite TV, but they were not messing it up prior to Sep 6.
    So, the Israelis on Sep 6th either
    1) fried the UN ships electronics or
    2) fried some satellite TV ground receivers

  50. Cold War Zoomie says:

    The latest:
    NY Times Article
    Possibility number 1 wins.

  51. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Raimondo the Rothbardian weighs in. I am not a Rothbardian and reject many of the underlying assumptions but Raimondo’s essays,in my opinion, are worth a study. He is a talented writer who has been correct many times before when analyzing developments in the Middle East and critiquing neoconservatives.

  52. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Gareth Porter has written several informative essays lately. On 11.20.07, awc published one of his essays entitled “Israel’s Syrian Air Strike Was Aimed at Iran”\
    Here’s a quote from the essay that arguably confirms the “dual loyalty” of Stephen J. Hadley.
    “The officials did not want the intelligence community involved in assessing the alleged new evidence, suggesting that they knew it would not withstand expert scrutiny. Glenn Kessler reported in the Washington Post Sept. 13 that the “dramatic satellite imagery” provided by Israel had been restricted to “a few senior officials” and not disseminated to the intelligence community, on orders from National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley.
    The intelligence community had opposed a previous neoconservative effort in 2002-2003 to claim evidence of a Syrian nuclear program at the same site. A senior U.S. intelligence official confirmed to the New York Times on Oct. 30 that U.S. intelligence analysts had been aware of the Syrian site in question “from the beginning” – meaning from before 2003 – but had not been convinced that it was an indication of an active nuclear program.”
    Sidebar soliloquy: In my opinion, Porter’s writing style has improved immeasurably since he started penning screeds for “Inter Press Service”. Good editors, I reckon. I sometimes wonder if the essays cross the desk of Jim Lobe before publication.

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