Details Reported on the Israeli Raid on Syria (Updated)
More details have been reported on the raid conducted by the Israeli Air Force on a base in Syria on September 6:
Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it this month, according to informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem.
The attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say.
They confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. This raised fears that Syria might have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
Commentary is beginning to emerge from the news media and the blogosphere:
U. S. News and World Report produces a quotation from an Israeli missile warfare expert that sounds pretty close to the mark:
Said Yiftah Shapir, a missile-warfare expert at Israel’s Institute for National Strategic Studies: “My guess is that, in the worst case, North Korea gave Syria the most embryonic sort of equipment needed to manufacture nuclear weapons, which would take decades of work by thousands of technicians that Syria doesn’t have.”
The Glittering Eye wonders what it all means:
I think there’s still some room for skepticism over the nature of the site the Israelis raided. But the room is narrowing. For example, what is meant by “nuclear material”? That could cover a lot of territory, everything from fissible material to radioactive scrap. And then there’s the larger question…
Newhoggers continues to believe that it’s part of a neocon plot:
But if they had really had this evidence, they wouldn’t need to leak it to a British newspaper’s neocon shill. They could have gone public, had the data verified and stopped all of the happenings at the IAEA that Israel is so upset about dead and almost certainly have gained a UNSC resolution to boot. Then, if the air attack had gone ahead, many nations who are suspicious of anonymous leaks and scanty evidence would have stood up and cheered. There wouldn’t have to be a whisper campaign for a war which might begin with an Israeli pre-emptive attack but is surely designed to drag the U.S. in, willingly or not.
Cheat-seeking Missiles is convinced:
This certainly explains why Damascus has been nearly mute in its response to having its sovereignty invaded by the hated Jews. But what about NoKo? You’d think Li’l Kim Jong Il would have something to say, if nothing more than a lie to distance his regime from the evidence.
Ed Morrissey notes the secondary information:
Israel sought American approval for the bombing of the compound, but the Bush administration required solid proof before giving it. The Israelis brought information showing North Korean personnel staffing the facility, but Bush insisted that the Israelis had to prove that the facility was developing WMD. The raid took the nuclear material out of the compound, and only on September 6th — after testing had shown that the Israelis were correct — did they get American approval.
This gives us some interesting secondary information. First, despite its reputation, the Bush White House does not shoot first and ask questions later. Bush did not easily support this mission, even though Syria has conducted assassinations in Lebanon and supplies terrorists in Iraq. The administration wanted hard, incontrovertible proof before supporting an attack on Syria. And the Israelis waited to get it before bombing the compound, risking their intel operatives in a very dangerous burglary rather than acting unilaterally.
The Duck of Minerva offers prudent advice:
How solid this is, who knows…. But, it appears more credible than former Bush Administration officials with an ax to grind. It also suggests that this is not a neo-con fantasy story to drive policy or launch a war. Rather, its indicative of a very very serious problem–not just for the US, but for Asia, the Middle East, and any other countries concerned about Nuclear Proliferation.
Pat Lang wants to know more before deciding:
Which is it? Beats me! I need more data.