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New York Times: Israel bombed Syrian nuke plant

Israel's September attack in Syria was indeed directed against a nuclear reactor site under construction, report David E. Sanger and Mark Mazzetti for The New York Times"

Israel's air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to American and foreign officials with access to the intelligence reports.

The description of the target addresses one of the central mysteries surrounding the Sept. 6 attack, and suggests that Israel carried out the raid to demonstrate its determination to snuff out even a nascent nuclear project in a neighboring state. The Bush administration was divided at the time about the wisdom of Israel's strike, American officials said, and some senior policy makers still regard the attack as premature.

The attack on the reactor project has echoes of an Israeli raid more than a quarter century ago, in 1981, when Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq shortly before it was to have begun operating. That attack was officially condemned by the Reagan administration, though Israelis consider it among their military's finest moments. In the weeks before the Iraq war, Bush administration officials said they believed that the attack set back Iraq's nuclear ambitions by many years.

By contrast, the facility that the Israelis struck in Syria appears to have been much further from completion, the American and foreign officials said. They said it would have been years before the Syrians could have used the reactor to produce the spent nuclear fuel that could, through a series of additional steps, be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium.

Many details remain unclear, most notably how much progress the Syrians had made in construction before the Israelis struck, the role of any assistance provided by North Korea, and whether the Syrians could make a plausible case that the reactor was intended to produce electricity.

Read the whole article at the above link. Had Syria sought "peaceful" nuclear power to produce electricity, they scarcely would have dealt with the North Koreans, who can barely keep lights on in their own capital. The French or the Russians would have been far more logical suppliers.

No, the secrecy and reluctance even to admit a facility was destroyed demonstrate a need to conceal, from which follows it was not something innocent. This is confirmed by the tepid condemnations from the Arab League and its member nations, who seemed barely able to muster a collective "harrumph" at the attack.

This news, of course, was long suspected and anticipated, and it had been the accepted working hypothesis almost since the day of the attack.

The real message of the raid was to Iran. Despite Syria's extensive and expensive Russian air defense systems, the Israelis entered and left undetected. This must have been an unnerving realization for Tehran, whose air defense systems also come from Russia.


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Comments (18)

Other reports have indicate... (Below threshold)

Other reports have indicated that North Koreans were killed by this Israeli attack on Syrian Soil. And a North Korean Ship loaded with "Cement" docked days earlier at a nearby Syrian Port.

Could it be North Korea was dismantling (read exporting) Nuclear Technology while attempting to portray compliance with the 6 party talks?

Much to the dismay of progr... (Below threshold)

Much to the dismay of progressives everywhere, evil exists.

I wonder if even the Wahhab... (Below threshold)

I wonder if even the Wahhabi recognize evil in al-Qaeda. A prominent Saudi cleric has denounced them. Maybe funding will dry up to the madrassahs in Paki.

Two things may have changed the Wahhabi. One is feedback from the Iraqi Sunni theologians about the evenhandedness of the Americans. The other is represented by this nuke facility in Syria. King Abdullah and other Saudis have finally awoken to the Persian march to the Mediterranean.

Has some intern mistaken a ... (Below threshold)

Has some intern mistaken a plover for a clay disc?

Rediclous.=====... (Below threshold)


Could it be that Syria need... (Below threshold)

Could it be that Syria needs some help in the reassembly of Saddams WMD, including nuc's? Russia's fingerprints are all over the trouble in the Middle East but they may have figured out they are closer and the most likely target of a religion of peace? that will kill anyone for fun.

In other news, scientists h... (Below threshold)

In other news, scientists have confirmed that water is wet. Pictures at eleven.

Scrapiron, afer the slaught... (Below threshold)

Scrapiron, afer the slaughter at the Beslan school, you'd think the Russians would have learned what radical Islam has in store for them. But apparently money trumps the lives of children, and other citizens.

the NY Times is just NOW re... (Below threshold)

the NY Times is just NOW reporting this? Everyone else reported on it weeks ago.

Coming tomorrow in the NY Times:
"Titanic sinks in North Atlantic"

This must be "catch up" wee... (Below threshold)

This must be "catch up" week for the NYT. Nobody wants to feel left out...

Justrand, you forgot the su... (Below threshold)

Justrand, you forgot the subhed

"Bush's great-grandfather to blame"
With the first sentence,
"Multi-nation corporation Haliburton, which built the Titanic, has admitted that the ship was not "Unsinkable" as their early press releases claimed, making us wonder, is the debacle in Iraq worth it?"

Israel needed to do what wa... (Below threshold)

Israel needed to do what was viewed best for their national security in their view. And fortunately the political fallout has not been serious from this mission. However, the U.S. cannot miscalculate that this to mean that a similiar attack on Iran would be successful and needs to best use the IAEA and other international means to control the Iranian nuclear program and hope for democratic change in Iran as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad becomes less popular at home due to high unemployment and inflation, and is now being heckled by crowds.

I'm concerned that "some se... (Below threshold)

I'm concerned that "some senior policy makers still regard the attack as premature."

Who the heck working for Bush is regarding this as premature? And if so, why? This seems preposterous. I can't help but wonder if they have some Cyrus Vance clone working for them.

cliff, possibly, giving awa... (Below threshold)

cliff, possibly, giving away the inutility of the radar defenses was premature. Iran got a big heads up, and realistically, how close were the Syrians to producing anything but a dirty bomb? Well, I guess that is a good question.

Answer: Close enough for t... (Below threshold)

Answer: Close enough for the Israelis. Truly, a dirty, radioactive, bomb would devastate Israel. It wouldn't even have to be a nuclear explosion, just radioactive material dispersed conventionally.

Veeshir...SPLENDID!! ... (Below threshold)


you don't actually WORK the NY Times...right? I mean, that just seemed too easy for you! :)

Justrand, I just cut and pa... (Below threshold)

Justrand, I just cut and pasted that from one of their front-page stories, it's funny how much they use that. I think it's a macro they have.

Huzzah for Israel!... (Below threshold)

Huzzah for Israel!

All those armchair commentators who condemn Israel for such actions clearly don't appreciate the very real threat to its existence that Israel continues to face.

With neighbours like Israel's, there are only two options for Israel. Overwhelming strength, or defeat and destruction.






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