Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Did the Israelis nail a Syrian nuclear site?

Last week, the Israelis carried out a bombing mission on Syria, and no one seemed to know why. Charles Johnson speculates and the New York Times seems to confirm it that the site was, quite possibly, a nuke site created by Syria with the help of the NorKs:

After days of silence from the Israeli government, American officials confirmed Tuesday that Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes inside Syria last week, the first such attack since 2003.

A Defense Department official said Israeli jets had struck at least one target in northeastern Syria last Thursday, but the official said it was still unclear exactly what the jets hit and the extent of the bombing damage.

Syria has lodged a protest at the
United Nations in response to the airstrike, accusing Israel of “flagrant violation” of its airspace. But Israel’s government has repeatedly declined to comment on the matter.

Officials in Washington said that the most likely targets of the raid were weapons caches that Israel’s government believes Iran has been sending the Lebanese militant group
Hezbollah through Syria. Iran and Syria are Hezbollah’s primary benefactors, and American intelligence officials say a steady flow of munitions from Iran runs through Syria and into Lebanon. ...

... One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea. The administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria.

“The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” the official said. He said it was unclear whether the Israeli strike had produced any evidence that might validate that belief.

The latter part is the worry we've had for awhile. The NorKs agreed to end all nuclear work, and to destroy the weapons they already have. The problem is that the IAEA hasn't told anyone how many nukes they do have. So the threat from a nation like North Korea, where people are starving and economic sanctions have worked well to bring Kim back to the negotiating table, is that regimes in Iran and Syria have the money and ability to buy and hide such weapons. We already know that the NorKs have sold Iran missiles with a 2500 kilometer range, which gives them the ability to strike Europe if they so choose.

Memo to the world here. You can't trust the NorKs no matter how much negotiating is done. They have allies all over the world, from the Middle East to Europe, and they're willing to do whatever it takes to maintain their posture. The same goes for Syria and Iran; Iran, of course, we'll recall got their nuclear start thanks to the AQ Khan network out of Pakistan. And for those who think that was shut down, think again. In May of this year, a news report stated it's far from shut down:

The clandestine network of nuclear material and technology trading set up by Pakistani scientist AQ Khan is still very much in business and actively involved in proliferation, according to a media report in London.

Quoting a new report by the influential think-tank International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), media says only a part of Khan's worldwide organisation had been uncovered and some of the members prosecuted.

The report, titled "Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, AQ Khan and the rise of proliferation networks", adds that Khan's extensive 'contact book' had been sold on allowing lucrative new deals to take place.

Mark Fitzpatrick, one of the authors of the report, is quoted as saying: "In this case decapitating the head does not mean the body is dead. Khan's network was horizontal and in many ways self-supporting. He may have been the dealmaker, but many of his contacts have been able to organise their own deals."

This makes the bombing even more troubling, especially given the recipients of this technology. If Khan's "little black book" was sold to others, then it's safe to assume that Iran is trading in this information, as is Syria, North Korea, and a host of other countries. There's no confirmation that this was a nuclear site, and even Charles posted up this link from YNET that says it might have been a missile cache for Hezbollah:

Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times. “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” he said.

The official added that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.

Meanwhile on Wednesday the Nazareth-based Israeli Arab newspaper The Assennara cited anonymous Israeli sources as saying that Israeli jets "bombed a Syrian-Iranian missile base in northern Syria that was financed by Iran... It appears that the base was completely destroyed."

According to the Times, American officials confirmed Tuesday that Israeli jets launched an airstrike inside Syria. Sources said that Israel struck at least one target in northeastern Syria, but could not provide more details.

The most likely target was, according to some administration officials, weapon caches sent by Iran to Hizbullah through Syria.

Whether it was a nuclear site or not, it remains that Israel acted in defense of itself regardless of who is belly-aching over this. And to those that condemn this, need you be reminded that the last thing Israel wants is another war with Hezbollah, or the possibility that Syria may hand a crude nuke to them for use against Israel? After all, if more allies of Iran have nukes as well, then Ahmadinejad might be convinced to play chicken with just a couple of them rather than the need for a much larger arsenal. If two or three nations jump Israel the way Iran would like to, Israel will have her hands full. This sort of a scenario won't be like the past wars of aggression against them.

A nuke fight is nothing to cheer about, nor is it something we should all desire to see.

Publius II


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