Posted by: Tony Carson | 22 September, 2007

The media and the Israeli Syria attack

With no reason given for Israel’s (apparent) attack in Syria, the media is free to speculate.

This may well have been Israel’s intention: empowered the many pro-Israel columnists in the US to have a pro-Israel field day by whipping up fears of Syria, Iran, North Korea and whoever else they want to include.

Charles Krauthammer was all too willing to take up the challenge. He admits to having no more inside information than anyone else, yet he has the attack in Syria precisely cased:

On Sept. 6, something important happened in northern Syria. Problem is, no one knows exactly what. Except for those few who were involved, and they’re not saying.

We do know that Israel carried out an airstrike. How do we know it was important? Because in Israel, where leaking is an art form, even the best-informed don’t have a clue. They tell me they have never seen a better-kept secret.

Which suggests that whatever happened near Dayr az Zawr was no accidental intrusion into Syrian airspace, no dry run for an attack on Iran, no strike on some conventional target such as an Iranian Revolutionary Guard base or a weapons shipment on its way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Circumstantial evidence points to this being an attack on some nuclear facility provided by North Korea.

Get it? It must have been vitally important because the Israelis weren’t talking so it couldn’t have been a dry run on Iran and must have been “an attack on some nuclear facility provided by North Korea.”

For the Israelis it was mission accomplished. By saying nothing they said precisely what they wanted to say.

Bush did too:

NBCs David Gregory: “Sir, Israeli opposition leader [Benjamin] Netanyahu has now spoken openly about Israel’s bombing raid on a target in Syria earlier in the month. I wonder if you could tell us what the target was, whether you supported this bombing raid, and what do you think it does to change the dynamic in an already hot region in terms of Syria and Iran and the dispute with Israel and whether the U.S. could be drawn into any of this?”

Bush: “I’m not going to comment on the matter. Would you like another question?”

Gregory: “Did you support it?”

Bush: “I’m not going to comment on the matter.”

Gregory: “Can you comment about your concerns that come out of it at all, about for the region?”

Bush: “No. Saying I’m not going to comment on the matter means I’m not going to comment on the matter. You’re welcome to ask another question, if you’d like to, on a different subject.”



  1. Of course, you seem to be doing the same thing in the opposite direction, aren’t you?

    Because Israel won’t say exactly what happened it couldn’t have been an attack on a Syrian nuclear facility (or it’s somehow highly unlikely that it was).

    I’ve said it before, but personally, with what little evidence there is, I find it much more probable that the Israeli Air Force bombed a secret nuclear facility (the Israeli scuttlebutt) than that the Israeli Air Force bombed a bunch of sand in the middle of an empty Syrian desert (the Syrian story). Maybe we’ll never know for sure. That being said, if they DID bomb a secret nuclear facility, I have no problem with that. If they really bombed a bunch of sand in the middle of the desert, I’m less sanguine about that. Then again, it doesn’t bother me that much either. The invasion of Syrian airspace notwithstanding, I just can’t get too rilled up against a bunch of sand being turned into glass in the middle of an empty desert.

  2. While Israel has lost some of the bloom of their military invincibility we can be sure this little bastion
    of freedom still has the where with all to defend itself. What it did in Syria was a major clandestine
    operation that was an absolute necessity and is a significant asset to them and the rest of us.

  3. FYI (for what it’s worth) The Times of London has a report that claims to lay out just what it was that the Israelis shared with the Americans before the air strike. The article states that before the bombing raid, Israeli commandos had actually infiltrated the site in question and that they removed nuclear materials that were later confirmed to be of North Korean origin.

    Interestingly, the article also references chatter in Asian diplomatic circles (talk between North Korean and Chinese officials) that suggests that a number of North Koreans were killed in the air strike.

    If it’s true, I suspect the Syrians won’t be being too vocal about all of this for much longer. I think if the Syrians make a big stink, THEN I’ll start to doubt all the nuclear facility reports.

    Of course, if it’s true, it also explains why everybody’s keeping their mouths shut. The North Koreans have agreed precisely not to give nuclear technology to other countries. This would be a direct violation of that agreement. The North Koreans will probably keep quiet about a bunch of their people being killed because of that, but if Washington or Tel Aviv come right out and say “We know the North Koreans gave the Syrians technology they had agreed not to share, and here’s the proof” THAT would really rattle North Korea’s cage. And that’s not a cage anyone wants to rattle.

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