The fear, according to Israeli sources by way of the Times of London, is that Syria would slap it on the end of a Scud. Question one: Are we sure North Korea has a workable warhead? Their nuke test last year fizzled. Question two: Assuming the answer is yes, have they taken the next step and engineered it for missile delivery? That’s no easy trick, although at least one think tank in D.C. believes they’ve figured that part out too. Question three, the big one: If Syria was able to get this far along towards obtaining a weapon without having any nuclear infrastructure of its own, exactly how far along must Iran be?

IT was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way.

At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames…

According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.

The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.

An alternative theory: the goods weren’t meant for Syria at all.

Washington was rife with speculation last week about the precise nature of the operation. One source said the air strikes were a diversion for a daring Israeli commando raid, in which nuclear materials were intercepted en route to Iran and hauled to Israel. Others claimed they were destroyed in the attack.

Complicating all this is the fact that one of the co-authors of the story is rather notoriously “nuanced” in his reporting about Israel.

Meanwhile, don’t look now but between Fox News last week and now the Telegraph, even conservative news outlets are talking about Bush’s plans for war with Iran.

Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail…

In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq – arming and training militants – would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories…

The Sunday Telegraph has been told that Mr Bush has privately promised [Condi Rice] that he would consult “meaningfully” with Congressional leaders of both parties before any military action against Iran on the understanding that Miss Rice would resign if this did not happen.

The Times of London had a similar report two weeks ago about a plan for three days of sorties with 1,200 targets. Gates is sniffing at the rumors but the French are talking unusually tough, and not just in the language of sanctions either, in an attempt to get Iran to back down. Clearly they’re nervous. I’m starting to get nervous too.