IDF Hit Syrian Nuke Site Built with NK Help
April 1, 2008 3:09 PM   Subscribe

According to the English language edition of the Asahi Shimbun, an Israeli airstrike against Syria last September targeted a nuclear-related facility that was under construction with technical assistance from North Korea, according to Israel's prime minister...It is apparently the first time that the intended target had been disclosed to the head of a foreign government. Original Japanese link here. Via the wonderful Marmot's Hole.

Previously on Metafilter here, here, and here.

A Strike in the Dark, by Seymour Hersh.
posted by KokuRyu (14 comments total)

 
And MI6 had Ray Bourque killed in 1994 and replaced him with an impostor as part of a plot to reverse the Patriation of the Canadian Constitution.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:28 PM on April 1, 2008


Hasn't that been the the official line for about six months?

see also
posted by pompomtom at 3:51 PM on April 1, 2008


This really isn't news, it's just confirmation of what analysts had been saying since it happened.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:57 PM on April 1, 2008


This really isn't news, it's just confirmation reiteration of what analysts politicians had been saying since it happened.
posted by pompomtom at 3:59 PM on April 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


I wish the world would just cut to the chase, equip each nation in the region with second-strike nuclear capability and dismantle the rest of their armies. Mutually assured destruction is the first step toward forcing these children to grow up.

Or even better, evict everyone in the region and turn the whole place into a memorial for the countless thousands who have died fighting over it.
posted by mullingitover at 4:06 PM on April 1, 2008


Sending the message without, y’know, sending the actual message or acknowledging there’s a message.

“If people had known how close we came to World War Three that day there’d have been mass panic”
If people had known how often that was true there’d be mass panic.


Olmert: You know that nuke site in Syria?
Fukuda: Yeah?
Olmert: Nailed it.
Fukuda: Whoa, really?
Olmert: Oh yeah. And you know that chick from marketing?
Fukuda: Yeah?
Olmert: Nailed her.
Fukuda: Did not.
Olmert: Yeah, totally.
Fukuda: No way. Phfft.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:14 PM on April 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Nuclear-related"? That's incredibly weak I must say. It's not "nuclear" nor is it "nuclear weapon-related."
posted by bhouston at 5:15 PM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mutually assured destruction is the first step toward forcing these children to grow up.

Can we exempt those waiting for the Rapture, at least? They might get impatient.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:09 PM on April 1, 2008


So Seymour Hersh actually got a story right?
posted by smackfu at 7:47 PM on April 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Or even better, evict everyone in the region and turn the whole place into a memorial for the countless thousands who have died fighting over it.

Better: evict everyone in the region and turn it into a huge theme park: Holy Land!

I am totally serious.
posted by davidmsc at 10:05 PM on April 1, 2008


Before this I just thought it was a couple crazy Israeli kids out jet bomber cruising who decided take out a Syrian mailbox.
posted by srboisvert at 4:39 AM on April 2, 2008


I thought that this timeline of news coverage about the airstrike, courtesy of GlobalSecurity.org, was fairly interesting, if you haven't been following the thing from day 1.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:57 AM on April 2, 2008


According to the Seymour Hersh article, the target was probably not a nuclear facility, but the Israelis believed it was.
Joseph Cirincione, the director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., think tank, told me, "Syria does not have the technical, industrial, or financial ability to support a nuclear-weapons program. I’ve been following this issue for fifteen years, and every once in a while a suspicion arises and we investigate and there’s nothing...."

Much of what one would expect to see around a secret nuclear site was lacking at the target, a former State Department intelligence expert who now deals with proliferation issues for the Congress said. "There is no security around the building," he said. "No barracks for the Army or the workers. No associated complex." Jeffrey Lewis, who heads the non-proliferation program at the New America Foundation, a think tank in Washington, told me that, even if the width and the length of the building were similar to the Korean site, its height was simply not sufficient to contain a Yongbyon-size reactor and also have enough room to extract the control rods, an essential step in the operation of the reactor; nor was there evidence in the published imagery of major underground construction. ...

In Syria, I was able to get some confirmation that North Koreans were at the target. A senior officer in Damascus with firsthand knowledge of the incident agreed to see me alone, at his home; my other interviews in Damascus took place in government offices. According to his account, North Koreans were present at the site, but only as paid construction workers. The senior officer said that the targeted building, when completed, would most likely have been used as a chemical-warfare facility. (Syria is not a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has been believed, for decades, to have a substantial chemical-weapons arsenal.)

The building contract with North Korea was a routine business deal, the senior officer said—from design to construction. (North Korea may, of course, have sent skilled technicians capable of doing less routine work.) Syria and North Korea have a long-standing partnership on military matters.
posted by russilwvong at 12:03 PM on April 2, 2008


Y’know, I don’t want to oversimplify the problems in the middle east, foreign policy and economic and military affairs, but...Israel strikes me as the “Moe” of the stooges out there.
I mean *slap*
“What was that for?”
“That was for thinkin about it, see?”
“Say, why don’t you leave him alone?”
*Whack!*
“Shaddap knucklehead.”
posted by Smedleyman at 2:12 PM on April 2, 2008


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