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21 September 2007


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Wayne White

So far, Pat, and despite all of the informed speculation feeding off mere fragments of information, I couldn't agree more. This incident remains a question mark, in part because of some of the issues you raise.

And when one considers what is required to ramp up a serious nuclear program, it would seem unlikely that if anything nuclear was out there, it was of much consequence.

One important side-bar to this story is whether or not the Turks allowed the Israelis to use their airspace for part of the approach and return.

Best regards. WW.


Armscontrol Wonk http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/ cites reports (mainly the nelson report - anyone have thoughts on the credibility of such?) that the site attacked was likely some form of missile storage site. They also suggest that some reports that this site was related to uranium extraction from phosphates are not credible and they also have an interesting chronology of media treatment of this attack.


One further thought is that the info cited at Armscontrol Wonk would support Col. Lang's options 2 and possibly 3.


Of course the possibility you don't list but is the most likely, imo, is none of the above. I'm surprised the "nuclear" angle has gotten as much traction as it has - probably because the press has a tendency to hear "nuclear" and go ape. Anyway, it seems much more likely to me that the target was more mundane and conventional. Some of the theories circulating are Scuds or air defense equipment. Another possibility is some advanced weapon system for Hezbollah. Remember the C-802's from last summer?



israel and our d.c. wingjuts just spent a lot of moola (price of the missiles used) to send to smithereens a bunch of bags of cement. just like they spent bookoo moola back in o6 trying to zero in on a bunch of weather gear spare parts in cyprus. sheez louize.


Well I'm so far off the reservation on this stuff now that I don't really even care if #1 is true. But trying to put my Col. Pat Lang honorable, sane, interventionist hat on for a moment, it almost doesn't matter for another reason. At this point, with so much mendacious behavior in the past by the administration, and with the looming possibility of an attack on Iran, don't we almost have to assume it's two or three, even if option one would be legitimately concerning?


Just 3 possibilities?

You don't seem to mention the dry run (Israeli airstrike on Iran) possibility.

Also doesn't Turkey have some kind of military agreement with Israel? The Turks aren't going to be too happy that something happened so close to the border.

The dumb scenario you propose sounds just too...dumb.

Hmmm keeps us all speculating around this event, meanwhile....

Peter Principle

Col. Lang: Some propagandist will say that I am a "conspiracy theorist." Nevertheless, governments do these things.

It does kind of dovetail with this:

The option that Wurmser allegedly discussed was nudging Israel to launch a low-yield cruise missile strike against the Natanz nuclear reactor in Iran, thus "hopefully" prompting a military reaction by Tehran against U.S. forces in Iraq and the Gulf.

Maybe an strike inside Syria was perceived as a low risk alternative -- i.e. the "small solution" to the "big solution" of an full fledged attack on Iran -- one that would force the Syrians to respond in some way that would lead to escalation, eventually dragging in the Iranians?

If so, the Syrians definitely don't seem to be taking the bait. They may do "dumb things" from time to time but they're not THAT dumb.

W. Patrick Lang


I think of myself as being against intervention in others' business. pl

W. Patrick Lang


The more possibilities, the better. I happen to like these three.

Rehearsal on Iran? So they fly up to Turkey, through Turkish airspace, over to Iran, then down to where? Natanz? Long ride. With how many airframes and what ordnance? pl


Col. Lang,

If the story is true, that North Korea is working with Syria to develop a nuclear program and they were caught red-handed wouldn't the appropriate US response be to end any negotiations with the North Koreans immediately?

I mean helping Syria build a nuclear program isn't exactly "responsible" and that is the term The Decider always tosses about when it comes to dealing with so called rogue nations. So if the US continues to work with North Korea the US will be "rewarding bad behavior" as it is known in Cheney-speak.

So I think we need to cast an eye on how the US proceeds with North Korea.

Just a thought.


Charles I

Re Pat's #3, as I wrote below in the Iran posts, there are just so many wild cars here, preemptive perpetrators are pissing in the wind. How about all three of PL's scenarios synergisticly operating at once - a very drunken 3d chess game - and just on one tiny square of the board? All of this is going to come out very badly no matter what moderating rational counsel may be available.

I'm at the point where I hope several severe comeuppances are delivered sooner rather than later - because later all these preempted people and their supporters/sympathizers are going to be baying for a lot more than an Israeli comeuppance. It will be too late for any rational discourse - although by the gibberish coming from Washington & Jerusalem we are at that point now.

Next year, next decade, next generation, there will be wmd/nanotechnology available to Israel & America's victims/enemies - and not just to the helpful democracies - that is
impossible to defend against.

Charles I

CSTAR, you must have more faith in people, governments' and armies' endless capacity for doing stupid things - especially in the fog of war, and maybe even more so in the fog of BS that precedes the war. Nobody knows what the hell is really going on, which makes the possibility of ignorant behaviour seeming stupid later. The Cold War didn't totally explode because arms control was predicated upon verifiable knowledge about the state of your adversary/treaty partner's most destructive arms. Even if divining mysterious power struggles was based upon who stood where on Lenin's mausoleum.

Imagine if that was absent during any number of crises in which we know so much less than we did about the Soviets and vice versa. And obviously we know squat about the ME.


Here's an alternative view of the Israeli attack from Trich Schuh at Joshualandis.com (aka Syria Comment): http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=371


The only hard evidence that's been presented are those photos purported to be discarded Israeli drop tanks found on Turkish soil, which the Turks aren't too happy about.

Geez, someone call the Psychic Help Line--Madame Zelda seems to be the only one without an ax to grind on this one.


The intriguing part of this is everyone (in the know) is trying to keep it quiet.
With a North Korean ship in Syria you would think our Navy, who spends big bucks keeping track of commercial vessel movements, would have already checked out the vessel while it was enroute to Syria. Thus to me the nuclear issue is off the table.
With North Korea's protest, before thinking, its obvious they lost something/someone dear. Thus missle parts, chemical weapons or more mundane military hardware is most likely the case.

As to the silence, could Israel have lost a plane or a few people in this escapade.

Rick F

Let's not forget what Ron Suskind described as the Cheney "One Percent Doctrine" -- if there's a one percent chance that something "dangerous to American interests" might become real, it's treated as a certainty by this Administration for planning and/or execution purposes. :(


Nukes in the Mideast. The Israeli Dimona facility was a gift of the French retaliating against Egyptian support for the Algerian insurgents. A plutonium facility, it was perfect for making bombs. There were warnings from Eisenhower and JFK b/ the Israelis finessed them. Peres has taken credit as being the father for the bomb.

I have seen a report somewhere that Gamal Abdul Nasser's build up in the Sinia was a smokescreen for a Soviet special forces operation on Dimona. That operation was called off when Israel took advantage of the Egyptian forward deployment to start the six day war. That may be the reason they targeted the USS Liberty they may have thought it was a Soviet operation to take out Dimona masquerading as a US vessel.

Unsaid anywhere is the hypocrisy of it all. A nuclear Israel possessing a triad of delivery, a non-signatory of the non-prolif treaty complaining about Syria and Iran. The Chutzpah. The second irony- aggression, violation of airspace, violation of UN resolutions (continued occupation of Golan), treatment of Palestinians means nothing. the only UN resolutions that count are the ones the flatheads want to use as swords.

Such is the power of the Israeli Lobby.

We just went thru this yellowcake, aluminum tube, portable bio lab stuff cycle a few years ago. Yet the flatheads are ready to subject the gullible public to it again. And the WashPost is ready to be spoonfed drivel by Bolton & Co, & Cheney's office stovepiping apparatus.

Miscalculations start with hyping. I was just reading about the 50's bomber gap. The soviets actually only had 20 which were conflated to 600. Then there was the missle gap which turned out to be baloney b/ which scared the soviets enough to forward deploy their missiles to Cuba.

for fascinating reading read wiki for
bomber gap
missle gap
and from the doctor strangelove movie
the mineshaft gap


Something not addressed. the Russian Navy base at latakia. How come that radar did not pick up the jets?

the news reports are that Turkish intelligence participated w/o knowledge of the new government. the new prez Gul no longer calls himself Islamist but conservative- his wife wears a headscarf and the Turkish military is snubbing her and denigrating him.

The reports are that the aircraft came into Syria from the Med and on their return skirted turkish air space.



Would there be any reason for the Israelis, besides the need to high tail it out of Syria, to drop their fuel tanks?

The Israelis talk of having restored their deterrent capability and having the ability to "get in and get out". This would imply that they can overcome Syrian radar correct? Would they be able to overcome the radar on the way in but not the way out?

Also, I am surprised no satellite photos have been produced.

Based on what I know about past Israeli behaviors following strikes, etc. and their generally breaking out the orchestra afterwards, it seems fairly evident the mission was a failure.

David W

Personally, I think the story about Syrian nukes is bunk, and as real as Saddam's purported efforts at the same.

Notwithstanding the lack of a real plausible motive on Syria's part, the 'tell' in this story, imo, is the 'North Korean nuclear technicians'--why would they fool around with the nascent North Korean nuke program when they could presumably deal with A.Q Khan and the Paki nuclear tech?

Clifford Kiracofe

Some random scenarios for Israeli strike against Iran floating around on the Internet [Googled "Israel attack Iran scenario]:





So, what about the old Israeli concept of using Turkey and Iran against the Arab States. Now they want to vaporize their dear Cyrus, foreclosing future possibilities??? Dunno...

I recall some briefings in Israel I once had from their military per chemical warfare issues and the threat to Israel. How many square meters can one warhead cover with whatever? 20,000? or?..folks are going to get their gas masks on in time??? Don't think so and neither did those briefing me.

I suppose some stuff could drift around blown by the winds into Arab Palestinian areas as well Israel being as tiny as it is...course who knows what the ceps are...

Do any Iranian missiles have a simple chemical capability and the ability to deliver against Israel?

Seems to me there is a lot of loose talk and posturing going down.



No disrespect intended. It was merely a shorthand way of referring to what I understand to be your historical support of a fairly traditional United States foreign policy view, which includes a fairly robust role in the world (albeit in your case a fairly restrained version of same). From where I sit, "interventionist" is a fairly neutral description of that viewpoint. But certainly by current standards, you're less interventionist than ... well, 95% of our political leadership, at least. Which, from my perspective, is a good thing.

W. Patrick Lang


The Israelis believe in the symbolic power of sonic booms and dropped fuel tanks. Thye used to do it all the time in various places in the ME. They think it is a "reminder." pl


ive got a couple of mine. they go from the merely implausible to the just plain ludicrous:

1. prelude to negotiations and resolution of the golan. in order for olmert and barak to claim that 'israeli deterrence has been restored', a line trumpeted a lot lately by ex-idf types, and to subsequently allow the israeli public to feel that they are negotiating with the arabs from a position of stregnth, they cook up this raid as a way to demonstrate that it was they who cast the last unanswered slap. this would account for the muted syrian reaction. they enter into secret nogotiations as they enhance kadima's domestic position. olmert can then produce an israeli consensus view that it was the right time to sign a peace deal with syria.

2. neo-con seedlings. just like the ied/ iran story last year, this is another small story that somehow gets implanted into the media. Sometimes the judy miller method works well here. stories can be leaked by officials who then subsequently cite them as proof. this elaborate construction of smoke and mirrors is then used as a justification later to. . .justify about anything to the public with citations to spare.

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