Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Why Syria is Freaking Out, Man!

First, the Israelis (according to this report in the Times Online) sent some "commandos" into Syria to snatch North Korean nuclear material. From the article:

ISRAELI commandos from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit – almost certainly dressed in Syrian uniforms – made their way stealthily towards a secret military compound near Dayr az-Zawr in northern Syria. They were looking for proof that Syria and North Korea were collaborating on a nuclear programme.

Israel had been surveying the site for months, according to Washington and Israeli sources. President George W Bush was told during the summer that Israeli intelligence suggested North Korean personnel and nuclear-related material were at the Syrian site.

Israel was determined not to take any chances with its neighbour. Following the example set by its raid on an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak 1981, it drew up plans to bomb the Syrian compound.

But Washington was not satisfied. It demanded clear evidence of nuclear-related activities before giving the operation its blessing. The task of the commandos was to provide it.

Today the site near Dayr az-Zawr lies in ruins after it was pounded by Israeli F15Is on September 6. Before the Israelis issued the order to strike, the commandos had secretly seized samples of nuclear material and taken them back into Israel for examination by scientists, the sources say. A laboratory confirmed that the unspecified material was North Korean in origin. America approved an attack.

That had to really piss them off. Hell, the Syrians (with the abundant aid of Iran) have been fighting a proxy war with Israel for years. In fact, they spent millions of dollars on Air Defense systems so that they could remain safe from Israeli air strikes. Of course, they must have totally freaked when the Israelis (probably with some help from Uncle Sam) simply turned those systems off for the September 6th air strike.

Israeli F-15s of the 69th Fighter Squadron, approaching from the Mediterranean, crossed the Syrian coast and streaked to an industrial complex that Syria claims was engaged in agricultural research, but is believed to be used to extract uranium from phosphates.

Israeli commandos in the area painted the target with laser designators that resulted in a precision strike that left the facility in flames. It was a perfectly executed operation, from disabling the enemy’s defenses to destroying the target and recovering all friendly forces involved.

Observers believe the target was a stockpile of components for nuclear weapons, supplied by North Korea. The raid occurred three days after a North Korean ship arrived in Syria with a cargo listed as “cement,” but suspected of being weapons components. It is not clear that Syria was the final destination of these materials, but that clearly didn't get any further.

The Government of Israel has remarkable powers to control the press in covering these sorts of incidents. Now, Fox News is reporting the the imposed blackout about this operation is being lifted somewhat.

Israel on Tuesday eased a strict news blackout on an airstrike in Syria last month, allowing the first publication of reports it struck an unspecified "military target" deep inside Syrian territory.

Israel's military censor had imposed a total blackout on coverage of the Sept. 6 airstrike. But Tuesday, the office allowed preliminary details to be published after Syria's president, Bashar Assad, confirmed the airstrike in a televised interview.

"Israeli air force planes attacked a military target deep inside Syria on Sept. 6, the military censor allowed for publication today," Israel's Army Radio reported. The headline on the web site of the Maariv newspaper was, "Now it can be revealed: Israel attacked in Syria," while the Haaretz newspaper led with the military's permission to publish "the fact" of Israel's attack.

However, the censor continued to bar publication of other key details, including the target of the raid, which forces participated in the mission and whether the operation was successful.

Foreign reports, quoting unidentified U.S. officials, have speculated that Israel attacked a weapons shipment destined for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, or attacked a nuclear facility built with North Korean technology.

North Korea, which provides missile technology to Syria, has denied any nuclear link. Syria also has denied receiving North Korean nuclear help.

So, the Syrians denied it. That hollow sound is echo from their robust protestations. Syria, Iran, North Korea... a trifecta of destruction. Now, if only someone could convince the Dishonorable Nancy Pelosi. She has joined the august ranks of Jimmah Carter, Jesse Jackson, and President Clinton who have "brought peace to the Middle East."

Thanks, but the Israelis seem to have the right of it.