Sunday, September 16, 2007

More Speculation on the Israeli Airforce Raid

As our commenters have observed, the Israelis have been surprisingly disciplined so far in maintaining silence on the air force raid in Syria that took place earlier this month. Meanwhile, in the American press, the North Korean angle is getting a great deal of coverage.

One of the theories that is gaining increasing traction is that the Israelis targeted an incipient nuclear weapons program, which the North Koreans had just provided to Syria. I continue to be skeptical of this theory, if only because the person behind it seems to be John Bolton. This crank has been a fanatical opponent of the sensible rapprochement with North Korea from the beginning. He is now seeking to undo the one foreign policy success that the Bush administration has to show for itself - the neutralization of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (something that could have been achieved two terms ago, had it not been for people like Bolton).

If North Korean nuclear weapons were involved, I would expect to see a lot more serious reactions from Christopher Hill and the White House. As it stands, we only have Pyongyang's condemnations to go on, as well as reports of a North Korean ship docked at Tartus. The only North Korean connection that makes sense to me is a shipment of Scuds or other missiles that had been approved a long time ago, before the deal with the U.S. Who knows, perhaps Pyongyang even tipped the Americans off beforehand.

It is obvious that all people in the U.S. and Israel with access to real intelligence on this matter are keeping absolute silence. In fact, based on a conversation with someone close to a Western intelligence agency, it appears to me that almost everyone is in the dark about what happened. However, we are getting some news via the German "spy ship" to which Hazbani alluded several times earlier. Der Spiegel is apparently set to publish a story quoting German military sources, who observed two Israeli F-15s entering Syrian airspace and "being surprised by the speed at which the Syrian air defenses recognized them," Haaretz reports (Hebrew only, at this time). Apparently, the Germans believed that the target was a weapons shipment to Hizbullah.

We may never know what happened, though I believe that in this day and age, it will not take much longer for someone to leak the details. Jeha earlier commented that the raid may have had something to do with the Lebanese presidential elections (so, in other words, some kind of anti-Hizbullah action or operation against other pro-Syrian elements). I am not sure Israel would be maintaining this kind of secrecy in that case, and I don't think we would have seen such a big operation either.


Jeha said...

What can I say,

I'm a wee bit paranoid... Then again, even paranoid have enemies.

One thing is certain; this attack revealed Syria's impotence and its lack of friends.

And it may well be the tip of the iceberg; there were other "bombings" in Syria over the past few months, carried out by "local cells". The ones reported were a small refinery/gas plant, and munitions depot, but there were others that went unreported.

We should expect to see more of those, and may be air attacks against "harder" targets. This may even accelerate around the Lebanese presidential election appears to coalesce a variety of interests, all coming to a head on this single issue. For the next 3 months, I feel that Lebanon may well be the focal point of Middle East politics, as Anbar is now.

Hezbo' appears to think as much; Al Manar's coverage has been increasingly shrill, and "war mongering" of late, as if they were "rallying the troops". You don't whip up so much enthusiasm so fast unless you plan something.

Nobody said...

i updated the consequences if you are interested..

Nobody said...

updated: peres brings democracy to saudi arabia

Nobody said...

nizo has a post in some way echoing my consequences :To Lirun: My Peacimistic Post ... you may be interested to read it

Nobody said...

i updated this post too:
National Identity

Nobody said...

i am closing both posts on national identity and consequences ...

it's basically all about the demographic situation in israel, even though indirectly ... in the consequences there was some discussion on the latest demographic trends in israel and the western world as a whole that you may like to see