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VIDEO: Israel officially acknowledges destroying Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

VIDEO: Israel officially acknowledges destroying Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Detailed account of how the reactor was discovered — almost too late — and destroyed

It was, perhaps, the worst kept “secret” in the Middle East.

In 2007, Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor in western Syria, near the Iraq border, being built with North Korean and Iranian help. That worst kept secret was the subject of much reporting, but Israel never officially acknowledged what happened. Now it has, and has provided details.

The Israel Air Force (IAF) website announced yesterday, The Untold Story: IAF Attack of Syrian Nuclear Reactor:

The IAF attacked and destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor in Dier ez-Zor in the night between September 5th and 6th, 2007, in operation “Silent Tone” – a historic operation of great significance for the IAF, IDF, State of Israel and Jewish People.

The Syrian nuclear reactor project operated under a heavy cloak of secrecy for about six years, and was exposed by the Israeli Intelligence Community in its final stages, a few months before its completion and operation. The premise that led Israel in its decision to attack it, was that the existence of an operational nuclear reactor in Syria would significantly impact the strategic reality in the Middle East and represent a potential existential threat to the State of Israel.

http://www.iaf.org.il/4471-50071-en/IAF.aspx

The IAF released these images of the pilots and plane that took part in the operation:

http://www.iaf.org.il/4471-50071-en/IAF.aspx http://www.iaf.org.il/4471-50071-en/IAF.aspx http://www.iaf.org.il/4471-50071-en/IAF.aspx

Israeli newspapers, which had been barred from publishing details by Israeli military censor rules, came forward with detailed accounts, including how Israel stumbled upon the existence of the reactor very late in the process.

Haaretz reports in great detail based on evidence it has collected over the last decade but could not previously report, No Longer a Secret: How Israel Destroyed Syria’s Nuclear Reactor. Read the whole thing, here’s an excerpt:

It is especially surprising that this is also the story of a secret that was maintained for a long time here in Israel despite the considerable personal interests of a number of those who are now involved in its publication. Only now, more than a decade later, has the military censor allowed the Israeli media to report the history of this affair – and even that, still with restrictions….

A large, cubical building that was still under construction in the heart of the Syrian desert, not far from Deir al-Zour, was a focus of the Israeli defense establishment starting from the end of 2006. Very quickly, it was given a name: the Cube. As the months went by, the suspicion grew that beneath the broad roof of the building hid President Bashar Assad’s secret flagship project: a nuclear reactor produced in North Korea, intended to provide the younger Assad with the achievement that had eluded his father, Hafez Assad, on the battlefield and between wars – and to lead toward a point of strategic balance that could cancel out Israel’s clear military and technological advantage….

The first research breakthrough occurred in November 2006. Major Y., a researcher in MI’s technology branch, composed a document headed “An Issue for Examination.” This is a well-known procedure in MI whereby, with the approval of the head of the organization and the head of the research division, a researcher is permitted to publish a dissenting assessment, even if it is not accepted by the chain of command, in order to prompt examination of a new hypothesis. Until then MI had been focusing on the more accepted channel of countries working their way toward a nuclear project – an installation for enriching uranium, based on centrifuges. Y. reached the conclusion that they were looking in the wrong place. Assad was building a plutonium nuclear reactor, he argued. The 20-page document was distributed to top defense officials. At the Mossad they remained skeptical….

The next breakthrough, in fact the turning point of the whole affair, occurred in Vienna in early March 2007. Israel has never officially acknowledged or accepted responsibility for it, and the following is based on an investigative report published by American journalist David Makovsky in The New Yorker in 2012. According to the report, Ibrahim Othman, head of the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission, had come to Austria to participate in the deliberations of the International Atomic Energy Agency. A cell of Mossad agents from the Keshet unit broke into the apartment where Othman was staying and within less than an hour “vacuumed up” the information that was on the Syrian official’s personal computer, which had remained in the apartment while he was taking part in the conference.

Othman’s negligence turned out to be the worst security offense in the history of Syria. Had it not been for his carelessness and the Mossad’s brilliant work, it is doubtful that the operation to destroy the reactor would have taken place.

When the material taken from the computer was received in Israel, it was found to include about 35 photographs from inside the mysterious building in the Syrian desert. In the pictures, the inside of the reactor is visible, and in it are fusion cylinders and bars and also some Korean workers.

This video shows how, once Israel confirmed the use of the building, the attack was carried out.

The IAF also released video of the strike:

In this interview, one of the pilots describes the strike:

The Times of Israel reports how the U.S. administration of George W. Bush had conflicting views on how and whether the attack should be carried out. Dick Cheney wanted the U.S. Air Force to carry out the air strike, but was overruled by Bush, who didn’t even want the Israelis to attack. But it seems that the go-ahead was given with a nod and a wink:

In mid-June, Olmert arrived in the United States for a meeting with Bush. Prior to the meeting the president consulted his advisers. Michael Hayden, the head of the CIA, wrote years later in The Washington Post that he told Bush that his agency had concluded that the site at Al Kibar was part of a nuclear weapons program and there was no other explanation for its existence. However, Hayden added a reservation: No other elements of such a program were identified, such as development of a warhead. Therefore, the findings from the reactor were presented as findings “at a low level of certainty.” In Israel they were surprised by that conclusion.

In his memoirs, Bush wrote that following Hayden’s assessment, he told Olmert at their meeting on June 19 that he could not justify an American attack on a sovereign state. Olmert implored Bush and Cheney to attack nevertheless, and argued that such a move would also help deter Iran. “I am able to defeat Syria,” said Olmert in that conversation, “but I need you to act there specifically because of the Iranian nuclear program.”

On July 13, Bush informed Olmert in a conversation over the direct and secure “red phone” line between the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem that he opposed a military attack on the reactor. However, said the president, he had decided to send an envoy to Syria to pose an ultimatum to Assad to demolish the reactor, under international supervision. The prime minister warned the American president that setting the diplomatic channel in motion would make it possible for the Syrians to play for time in the talks while hastening the completion of the construction of the reactor. Israel and the West, he said, would lose the element of surprise.

In the Israeli defense establishment, the concern was that if the diplomatic channel were employed, Assad was liable to position anti-aircraft batteries near the reactor or even to establish something like a kindergarten there as a “human shield.” The prime minister was also afraid of a leak to the media by American officials who opposed an Israeli attack. He succeeded in persuading Bush to halt the diplomatic move and to commit to preventing leaks. Olmert did not ask Bush for authorization of an Israeli attack but let the president understand that he was of a mind to order the IDF to act. “If you don’t do it, we will,” he said.

Haaretz produced this graphic showing the positions of various U.S. officials:

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-no-longer-a-secret-how-israel-destroyed-syria-s-nuclear-reactor-1.5914407

Since everyone “knew” Israel conducted the attack, why wait so long to admit it? Defense News reports:

Despite media and think tank reports based on WikiLeaks documents, U.S. congressional testimony and even reference to the event contained in the 2010 memoir by former U.S. President George W. Bush, Israel’s military censor continued to impose blanket gags on all details surrounding the operation.

For more than a decade, Israel stuck to its policy of deniability aimed at preventing undue embarrassment to Assad that could have forced the Syrian leader to respond in ways that could have spiraled into war.

“In 2007, I was very worried that the operation could trigger war with Syria,” recalled retired Israeli Air Force Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, who was the head of military intelligence at the time. “Our mission was to eliminate an existential threat to the state of Israel, while minimizing the risk of a broader war.”

But why NOW unleash the Israeli reporters, with their intricate detailed reporting?

Surely it has to do with Iran’s nuclear program and its military adventurism in Syria aimed at Israel. It is, perhaps a warning that when necessary, Israel will do what it takes, including hitting far from Israel’s borders.

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Comments

OleDirtyBarrister | March 21, 2018 at 11:29 am

Israel may see the importance as a demonstration that Israel will strike a nuclear reactor without US support or approval.

I challenge anyone to posit that President Barack H. Obama would have allowed this strike, or wouldn’t have leaked the operation to the Syrians.

    guyjones in reply to Redneck Law. | March 21, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Obama would have been happy to have lent the Syrians air-defense systems to guard against an Israeli raid, if he could have gotten away with it. This man’s petty and irrational hostility towards Israel and towards Netanyahu, personally, could only be the result of a radical Leftist marinating for decades in the Left’s toxic melange of contrived and fallacious narratives of alleged “Palestinian” victimhood at the hands of alleged, white, colonial, usurper Israeli oppressors. An abjectly idiotic narrative produced and consumed by total idiots.

    A more vile, narcissistic and morally bankrupt President we have never had.

Where did Syria get the money to build such a project?

    alaskabob in reply to D38999. | March 21, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I would guess Iranian money with payments to Norks for their design and installation work. Iran is using surrogates to create plutonium stores and weapon designs. NK doesn’t have to export nukes only, but technology. I would also guess Pakistan might be helping.

    The reactor is solely for plutonium production. The US used graphite moderated water cooled production reactors until Teller found out that control of the reactor had critical flaws. We abandoned the design which was the basic one for Chernobyl also. Windscale (air cooled) also proved problematic.

    I worked on a HTGR (High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor) designs back in the 70’s. Israel absolutely needed to destroy the site.

      So with North Korean design and Syrian construction techniques, it was only a matter of time before it blew up anyway, so it was best that it blew up before being loaded with radioactive fuel.

      🙂

buckeyeminuteman | March 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Really hope Israel does the same to Iran. The sooner the better. Kerry and Obama sniveling to the UN literally in the middle of the night is unforgivable.

It is most likely that Israel is doing two things here. The first is to establish justification for the strikes it made in Syria following the incursion of the unarmed drone, last month. While shooting down the drone was clearly acceptable, and this might even be stretched to include destroying the control site from which it was directed, the additional, wide-spread strikes were not. The second reason is most likely to set the stage for justifying future strikes on Syrian territory.

Israel garnered a ton of bad publicity from foreign leaders and governments following its actions this year. And, the situation in the Middle East has changed, with the US snuggling up to Egypt and moving closer to the Saudis.

    Y2K in reply to Mac45. | March 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    ” While shooting down the drone was clearly acceptable, and this might even be stretched to include destroying the control site from which it was directed, the additional, wide-spread strikes were not.”

    Unacceptable?

    Governments have been determined to destroy Israel since 1948.

    Israel is a tiny country. When attacked it seems obvious that its response should always be significant as a deterrent to future attacks no matter the sniffling from many of these same governments.

      4th armored div in reply to Y2K. | March 21, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      with the ACTIVE importation of I-Slamic, religion of peas immigrants, the Euros can be depended on attacking Israelis defending themselves.

      DJT connecting with Egypt and Saudis is a clear warning to them that what DJT giveth, he can take back.

      Both Egypt and Saudis are under attack by the Iranians.

      Mac45 in reply to Y2K. | March 21, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      I’m going to address both you and Milhouse.

      There was an incursion into Israeli airspace by an unarmed drone. Before Milhouse whines that Israel did not know it was unarmed, once it was downed, in Israeli territory, there was no urgent need to blow up half of Syria. Clear? This was NOT an attack, but an incursion. And, given the historical tensions between Syria and Israel, it was entirely permissible for the Israelis to down the drone.

      As the Israelis knew where the drone had come from and that there was an Iranian control station at that location, they can make a case for taking out the command station, as well. However, there is no justification for attacking other, unrelated Syrian government sites. NONE. Why, you ask? Because it goes far beyond the doctrine of proportional response. THERE WAS NO ATTACK UPON THE TERRITORY OR PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. Flying an unarmed aircraft over a country is not grounds for launching a retaliatory strike, particularly a general strike on targets having nothing to do with the trespassing aircracft. If it was, then the USSR would have been justified in launching a nuclear strike on the US when Gary Powers was shot down in 1960. Yet Israel launched retaliatory strikes against Syria which killed Syrian citizens. It is unacceptable to shoot trespassers, unless they are an immediate threat. And, it is totally unacceptable to burn your neighbor’s car, his garage and chicken coop because he is peeping in your window. This is an act of war; by Israel.

      I have asked this question before, but I’ll ask it again. If one of our drones crossed the Canadian or Mexican border and either Canada or Mexico responded by not only shooting down the drone, but launching an attack on US military facilities within the Continental US which had nothing to do with the drone, would we standby and say this was a an acceptable response? Not bloody likely.

      The actions of Israel justify similar actions from their neighbors. You know what keeps these neighbors from doing the same thing to Israel? Two things, Israeli nuclear weapons and the USA. Without those two things, Israel would have been destroyed years ago. Israel is now facing a loss of air superiority, with the anti-aircraft missile sales to Syria and Iran by Russia. And, if Iran gets a nuclear device, it already has the means to deliver it to Israel, Israel is doomed. As you note, Israel does not have the resources to sustain a long war.

        Y2K in reply to Mac45. | March 21, 2018 at 4:55 pm

        Your comments must make sense to you but you don’t get to decide how Israel responds to provocation.

        The people of Israel who are the ones in danger get to decide what their policy is.

        Your remarks about a US drone incurring into Canada or Mexico are only relevant if the US has stated for years that they will destroy these countries, has actively worked to destroy them and has sponsored terrorism against them.

        As this is clearly not the case your comparisons are irrelevant.

        You state that the actions of Israel justify similar actions from their neighbors but don’t mention the other side of that.

        As Benjamin Netanyahu accurately stated, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel’‎”

        what do you suppose Syria and Iran are planning to do to Israel as soon as they get the chance? There is nothing that Israel can do to change their minds. The animus goes back centuries. No point in trying to play be rules that will cease to exist when they are attacked.

        So, yes, I am perfectly fine with Israel doing whatever they believe it takes to avoid another genocide.

        You obviously are not. Noted.

          cep32101 in reply to Y2K. | March 23, 2018 at 12:40 am

          Liberals keep forgetting all the threats and violence Israel has had to endure from its Arab and Persian neighbors.

        Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | March 21, 2018 at 4:59 pm

        Mac, the difference between an Israeli strike on Syria and a US strike on Canada is that Canada is not at war with the US. Striking them would be an act of war, which we could do, but we’d have to consider the consequences. Syria is already at war with Israel, so Israel needs no justification for striking Syrian targets at any time, with or without provocation.

        Turtler in reply to Mac45. | March 21, 2018 at 5:11 pm

        @Mac45 I’ll pitch in, in large part because I agree with most of your premises, but disagree with some of them and generally support YZK’s

        “I’m going to address both you and Milhouse.

        There was an incursion into Israeli airspace by an unarmed drone. Before Milhouse whines that Israel did not know it was unarmed, once it was downed, in Israeli territory, there was no urgent need to blow up half of Syria. Clear? ”

        Agreed indeed.

        “This was NOT an attack, but an incursion.”

        Agreed, though it must be seen against the pattern of attacks on Israeli territory by the Syrian regime, and- this is a big one- Syrian proxies like Hezbollah.

        “And, given the historical tensions between Syria and Israel, it was entirely permissible for the Israelis to down the drone.”

        Agreed.

        “As the Israelis knew where the drone had come from and that there was an Iranian control station at that location, they can make a case for taking out the command station, as well.”

        Indeed.

        “However, there is no justification for attacking other, unrelated Syrian government sites. NONE. Why, you ask? Because it goes far beyond the doctrine of proportional response. THERE WAS NO ATTACK UPON THE TERRITORY OR PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. ”

        I agree there was no attack upon the territory or people of Israel *this time.* However, I do not agree that there was no justification for attacking other, unrelated Syrian government sites.

        Though I do agree it goes far beyond the doctrine of proportional response.

        But the Israelis have never been big believers on the doctrine of proportional response. In fact, they have preferred- rightly, in my mind- the doctrine of *disproportionate response.* Or proportions based on ratios, sort of The Untouchables style “They but one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the Morgue.”

        And I think this goes- At minimum- back to the War of Attrition, when one of Nasser’s inner circle stated like a true acolyte of the Soviets…

        “If the enemy succeeds in inflicting on us 50,000 casualties in this campaign, we can go on fighting nevertheless, because we have manpower reserves. And if we succeed in inflicting 10,000 casualties, he will indisputably find himself compelled to stop fighting, because he has no manpower resources at his disposal.”

        So the Israelis cut out the middleman and threatened to bomb Cairo into the dust rather than get slowly bled out.

        When you’re surrounded by enemies or potential enemies- some of which like the Baathist Syrian government are genocidal in intent-, it pays to threaten and carry out disproportionate retaliation to any infringement precisely because you can’t afford to look weak.

        “Flying an unarmed aircraft over a country is not grounds for launching a retaliatory strike,”

        It is when the regime in question denies Israel’s right to exist, and finances terrorism.

        ” particularly a general strike on targets having nothing to do with the trespassing aircracft. ”

        See a above.

        “If it was, then the USSR would have been justified in launching a nuclear strike on the US when Gary Powers was shot down in 1960.”

        Except we’re talking about a different level of retaliation; in this case the equivalent would NOT be a nuclear strike (which Israel is capable of doing, but has chosen not to) but widespread Soviet conventional strikes on US targets.

        And who is to say that as a matter of law or ethics they were NOT justified in doing so? To be sure, they did not. But that probably had less to do with any serious moral considerations by freaking Khruschev and more with the fact that they knew that the US and NATO could and would hit back even harder than they (and had not issued any sort of provocative, annihilationist rhetoric like Baathist Syria and its’ Iranian bosom buddy did against the USSR). So they simply decided to limit the backlash largely due to *practicality.*

        In this case, with the Syrian state being a sworn, annihilationist enemy of Israel, a sponsor of terrorism against it in times of peace, and engulfed in a civil war for its’ mere survival the pragmatic and moral factors arguing against massive retaliation ala Gary Powers fade away. And so the Israelis have plenty of reason to favor Kicking Assad when he’s Down.

        It’s brutal, but it’s also a brutal neighborhood and against a brutal target.

        “Yet Israel launched retaliatory strikes against Syria which killed Syrian citizens.”

        You mean like Hezbollah’s use of Syrian Arab Republic army munitions on their home made explsoives against Israeli civilian targets? Or Syrian shelling of Israeli civilians from the Golan from 1948 to 1966?

        In that case it’s more like Tel Aviv can say “We’re slightly closer to *even* now, mugu. What do you want to do about it?”

        “It is unacceptable to shoot trespassers, unless they are an immediate threat.”

        I’ve always disagreed with this on principle, though as a practical measure I recognize the law disagrees. And that there is an ethical reason for doing so- not everybody trespassing is a threat, or even intentionally trespassing- and so I can understand voluntarily abridging my right to respond violently without denying that I should have said right.

        “And, it is totally unacceptable to burn your neighbor’s car, his garage and chicken coop because he is peeping in your window.”

        No, but you DO call local law enforcement who have a monopoly on force to solve situations like this.

        There is Zero Comparable Institution in international politics. The closest we ever got was to the UN and it freely admits it does not have such a monopoly, the msot it can so much as *CLAIM* is a monopoly on justified violence. And even that is thin by their own admission given things like the RPF’s role in the Rwandan Civil War.

        In light of not being able to call some kind of World Police Station to solve out the dispute within the frame of law that both sides will obey, that raises the question of backlash. Much like we saw in human relations before the dawn of the modern state and law enforcement orgs.

        And in light of the Syrian regime’s constant refusal to accept the existence of Israel or maintain peaceable relations, I do think disproportionate violent retaliation is warranted.

        “This is an act of war; by Israel.”

        Which is not surprising, and Not Undue given how the Syrian regime views itself as being in a state of War against Israel. At the most, they’ve only had a Ceasefire (which has been fractured by both sides) rather than genuine peace, and attempts to hash out genuine peace have been steadily rejected by Damascus.

        As such, it is not unjustified or irrational to consider acts of war against such a regime.

        In fact, what is irrational or unjustified would be ignoring half a century of Syrian diplomatic history in order to treat an incuration by a Syrian drone onto Israeli airspace as some kind of mundane “oopsie” like that one time British marines accidentally invaded a Spanish beach.

        Which is what you have been trying to do.

        “I have asked this question before, but I’ll ask it again. If one of our drones crossed the Canadian or Mexican border and either Canada or Mexico responded by not only shooting down the drone, but launching an attack on US military facilities within the Continental US which had nothing to do with the drone, would we standby and say this was a an acceptable response? Not bloody likely.”

        No, we would not.

        And Canada would fully expect that.

        HOWEVER, if we never accepted the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 or the Oregon Compromise or whatever, continued to reject the idea Canada existing as a sovereign country, and had a track record of launching attacks on the Canadian border or supporting fillibusters against Canadian soil…. we would have ZERO grounds to be surprised about such a Canadian response.

        And Indeed, this is EXACTLY why when British Canada plunged into civil war with mostly Francophone “Patriotes” and American expansionist “Hunters’ Lodges” and the British government demanded the US help suppress them, THE US GOVERNMENT DID EVERYTHING IN ITS JUST POWER TO DO SO.

        The issue is, Syria does not have a diplomatic history with Israel like we do with Canada.

        Acting as if they do is mistaken. At best.

        “The actions of Israel justify similar actions from their neighbors.”

        Quite.

        And vice versa.

        Again, you wanna talk about similar actions? Let’s talk about the history of the Syrian Army Artillery, and of Hezbollah.

        And of hardline Syrian adherence to the Khartoum No’s.

        The Baathist state has already made it VERY CLEAR what kind of relationship it wants with Israel. Namely: hostile, twitchy, uneasy, and violent.

        Who am I to contradict Bashar al-Assad’s foreign policy or how seriously it should be taken? He made his bed. He can *lie* in it.

        “You know what keeps these neighbors from doing the same thing to Israel? Two things, Israeli nuclear weapons and the USA.”

        Uh, Israeli Nuclear Weapons, the USA, and the IDF’s conventional power. Buffeted by Israeli intelligence (both actual capabilities and overinflated myth) meaning that there’s a great chance the Israelis would learn about such a move towards hostilities and respond pre-emptively, and an even greater chance the prospective OPFOR would think they would.

        So three.

        “Without those two things, Israel would have been destroyed years ago.”

        1948 War…

        1956 War….

        1967 War…..

        At least.

        “Israel is now facing a loss of air superiority,”

        So like in the early sixties?

        Ok, remember how that turned out?

        “with the anti-aircraft missile sales to Syria and Iran by Russia. And, if Iran gets a nuclear device, it already has the means to deliver it to Israel, Israel is doomed.”

        And..well, we know what Syrian and Iranian policies to Israel have been, now DON’T WE?

        So in light of this, the question is: why the heck should Israel NOT respond with disproportionate violence against regimes that are avowedly hostile, seeking its’ destruction, and actively trying to bring about it through terrorist action in the hopes of either forcing them to reconsider (like Egypt) or destroying them?

        If the United States was in the hands of an actual Fascist cosplayer with deep ties to the former USSR and best buddy status with terrorist states, and publically considered Canada to be either Lebensraum or the rightful jurisdiction of some Quisling, would Canada not be justified in trying to pre-empt or neutralize that threat?

        “As you note, Israel does not have the resources to sustain a long war.”

        So the Israelis have never been planning to fight a long war, for the reasons Mohamed Heikel unintentionally touched on. They plan to identify sworn enemies and nip them in the bud to prevent them from being able to wage a long war.

        And I blame them not a single whit. Especially not against a regime that has never accepted the concept of peace with them.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Mac45. | March 21, 2018 at 11:53 pm

        Because of its precarious position in the world, Israel’s idea of what is “proportional” is probably different than that of most other nations.

        That being said, there’s merit to “disproportional” retaliation. It sends a clear message that even minor violations of Israel’s sovereignty will not be tolerated, and will earn a response such that the intruder will be suitably chastised, and discouraged from attempting anything similar in the near future. “Proportional” response doesn’t go very far in the Middle East towards earning respect and a reputation for fearsomeness, which Israel doubtless aims to invoke in its enemies.

    Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | March 21, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    In what way do you claim Israeli strikes on Syria, a country with which it is at war, which is dedicated to destroying it and massacring all its citizens, and which had just launched an attack on it, are unjustified?

I grabbed these stats from Wikipedia. Syria is not any economic dynamo.

Inflation (CPI): 29.2% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line: 82.5% (2017 est.)

Labour force: 4 million (2014 est.)

Labour force by occupation:
Agriculture (17%), Industry (16%), Services (67%) (2008 est.)

Unemployment: 50% (2017 est.)

Main industries:
petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, car assembly

Paul In Sweden | March 21, 2018 at 1:48 pm

This 2007 action by Israel against Syria is such a non-issue. My reaction is so.

Many of us have been expecting a cooperative effort between the Saudis and the Israelis or independent action by either against nuke facilities in Iran for decades.

This admission, to me, is a distinction without a difference. There are many things that are nearly common knowledge that are classified and may never be verified, or admitted to by the Government(s).

“The Times of Israel reports how the U.S. administration of George W. Bush had conflicting views on how and whether the attack should be carried out. Dick Cheney wanted the U.S. Air Force to carry out the air strike, but was overruled by Bush, who didn’t even want the Israelis to attack. But it seems that the go-ahead was given with a nod and a wink:”

I think Bush is so deep in the Arabs pockets, not surprised,
Yet the ME f/u is all his, and 13 years later, Americans are still dying and millions of Islamics have swarmed Western Countries, including America. On 2001 we had 3 million Muslims, now we have over 8 million…

    Milhouse in reply to gonzotx. | March 21, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    On 2001 we had 3 million Muslims, now we have over 8 million…

    BS. Wherever you found those stats is an untrustworthy source. In 2001 two reliable surveys found there were a little under 2 million Moslems in the USA; in 2015 a different survey, using different methods, found 3.3 million. That doesn’t mean there was a 65% increase, because the 2015 survey’s methods might have found a higher number in 2001, and vice versa. But there’s nothing like 8 million.

What’s interesting is that now that it’s legal to publish this information in Israel, everyone involved is bragging about and exaggerating their role, and claiming credit for it, to the point that the Defense Minister has said he regrets declassifying it.

So does this mean that in about 8 years that Mossad will admit to taking out the solid-fuel rocket engine storage facility in Tianjin China? Not many 107’s being launched these days. Wonder why?

I’m not a bit surprised that Bush was opposed to an attack and wanted to use diplomatic means. He was only successful as a President because he had smarter and more engaged people surrounding him. I’m not even remotely surprised by Cheney’s position. Of course you should bomb the shit out of their reactor.

    OleDirtyBarrister in reply to Sanddog. | March 21, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Bush was not successful as a President.

    He was a neocon and a RINO, needlessly expanded the size of government, engaged in military adventurism and unnecessary war, executed his wars poorly and failed to close them, and spent a shitload of money.

    OleDirtyBarrister in reply to Sanddog. | March 21, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    The best thing that Bush had going for him as a candidate is that he ultimately ran against Gore and then Kerry.

    Bush and Cheney gave us 8 years of B. Hussein Obongo.

    He was not “successful” in any sense that I would use the term. His only accomplishment was getting elected twice.

Nobody (at least, nobody possessed of common sense and moral rectitude) worries about Israel’s nuclear weapons capability, because Israel and its people conduct themselves with right action and compassion. Islam and many of its adherents in the Middle East, and, around the world, don’t possess any such restraints, as they seek to spread their supremacist, totalitarian and belligerent ideology by force of arms.

To Mac45,

Again, the most significant difference under international law is the fact that a state of war exists between Israel and Syria.

Occasionally events occur which make things very clear. Intellectual sophistries, legal niceties, obsolete customs are reduced to their proper irrelevance. The issue becomes obvious, the lines are drawn, the sides are chosen, the need for action becomes both clear and dire.

One such event was the German destruction of the library of Louvain in August 1914. The library included some quarter million volumes, and one of Europe’s finest collections of incunabula—books made before the invention of printing. And all housed in an intact 15th century guild-hall of marvelous Gothic tracery. The Kaiser wanted to show the world that the Germans could be brutally destructive, all with no other object than the sheer joy of destruction—in his conception, the Germans would be feared as the “modern Huns.” So the library was deliberately burned. From that point on, it was clear—whatever justification there may have been for prewar friction between Germany and its neighbors, from August Germany was the enemy of European civilization, and had to be defeated. No cavil, no harping, no rationalizing, no quibbling—it’s Germany or civilization; take your pick, and live or die by your choice.

Another such event was September 11, 2001. The war is on, the stakes are clear, the lines are drawn. Pick your side.

I know which side Israel is on. Anything which Israel destroys is just something somebody else doesn’t have to destroy later. The details are of interest to historians and antiquarians, perhaps, but that’s all they are … details. Existential struggles are not fought over details.

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