Report: Israel feared Syria was trying to buy nuke warhead from North Korea

posted at 9:18 pm on September 16, 2007 by Allahpundit

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.


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The more I read in the news that “Bush is planning to bomb Iran,” the less I believe it. Call me crazy (you’d be in good company), but with all the crap GW is dealing with over Iraq and Afghanistan, you’d think that any thoughts about turning Iran into a glass parking lot would be rather hush-hush. All these leaks or insider info declarations seem like a lot of saber rattling.

Frankly, I hope I’m wrong. I’d dearly love to see a 5-day massive pounding of Iran. But I’m not holding my breath.

thejackal on September 16, 2007 at 9:24 PM

Yeah, lots to be nervous about. Nukes and rumors of nukes. I have believed for some time now that we are on a collision course with open conflict with Iran. It seems to be what they want. I think the sooner we pull the trigger the better. The longer we wait, the better chances that Iran will have a nuke to use on us. I guess there is no guarantee now.

Given that Iran has been killing Americans since at least Beirut in 1983 (or was it ’82?), may have been involved in 9-11, and are training and arming our opposition in Iraq, what good choice is there? We CAN’T let this continue.

The flip side is… inaction will keep the war from escalating.. until Iran is ready to escalate it.

Ordinary1 on September 16, 2007 at 9:30 PM

Clearly they’re nervous. I’m starting to get nervous too.

I’ve BEEN worried, about Iran, NoKo, terrorists w/ dirty nukes or suitcase nukes…& others.
.
I think I might become even more worried in a year or two if we do NOT do something to stop Iran, soon.

shooter on September 16, 2007 at 9:34 PM

Does anyone think for a minute that they wouldn’t draw up plans for targets in any hostile countries, and continue to draw up plans for as long as required?

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on September 16, 2007 at 9:44 PM

I’m starting to get nervous too.

Ditto.

FireFly on September 16, 2007 at 9:44 PM

Question one: Are we sure North Korea has a workable warhead?

They sure think they do!

Question two: Assuming the answer is yes, have they taken the next step and engineered it for missile delivery?

If there is any chance, I can see why Israel did what they reportedly did.

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?

That’s the biggest danger to the whole world. Iran is serious about wanting to destroy Israel and the great Satan, US. Then the 12th Imam will come and convert the world to Islam. They really believe it and they have been putting their terrorist training and money where their beliefs are. The longer we wait, the greater the danger.

Ordinary1 on September 16, 2007 at 9:45 PM

“Bush set to bomb Iran back to the stone age!”

That isn’t such a far trip these days. The mullahs have been walking the country in that direction for nearly 30 years now.

I would be keeping a close eye on traffic to Venezuela too.

crosspatch on September 16, 2007 at 9:45 PM

See, here’s the thing, the President doesn’t have to go to Congress for any approval here. He can do whatever he wants for 60 days without going to Congress for funding.

It would be nice if Congress was on board. But seeing as how they respect Assad more than Bush, I don’t expect them to be receptive to anything Bush might ask for.

I say they should have dropped a nuclear bomb on Iran last year already in the middle of their desert as a ‘negotiation’ tactic. Not to kill anyone, but to send a message that we mean business.

ThackerAgency on September 16, 2007 at 9:49 PM

The US is hoping, that by some miracle, the Iranian theocracy is overthrown by some orange revolution. Not going to happen, but that is the reason why they are waiting until the 11th hour to do something.

But really, it will all amount to nothing. A few air strikes, some protests, and it will all be over. The fact is, the muslim governments, aside from Syria, want the US to defang Iran. But most importantly, America’s masters, the Saudis, want it. But nothing will change in Iran. They will just rebuild and try again.

jihadwatcher on September 16, 2007 at 9:50 PM

I noticed the complete lack of outrage from the usual suspects that accompany most Israeli military maneuvers.
Plus, Turkey let them fly over to hit Syria.
Lots of messages in the silence of major Arab countries, and the silence of Europe.

Israel did what had to be done. I thank them for it.

Stormy70 on September 16, 2007 at 9:52 PM

I wish I still believed in GW Bush. But I fear he’ll kick the Iranian can to the next generation.

petefrt on September 16, 2007 at 9:56 PM

I noticed the complete lack of outrage from the usual suspects that accompany most Israeli military maneuvers.

Yes, this is strange. Even Syria hasn’t complained. Even if they were taking delivery of nuclear materials, they could just have said it was baby milk formula, as they normally do. So why didn’t they scream bloody murder? How come the UN said nothing? How come Iran said nothing? Very strange.

I do not believe it could have been a warhead. As far as we know, NK has yet to even detonate a test bomb. So they are in no position to have a warhead, as early bombs are far too big and primitive to fit into any missile head.

jihadwatcher on September 16, 2007 at 9:58 PM

If Iran is assisting the insurgents, then using the same tactic against them seems the only logical solution.

Zaire67 on September 16, 2007 at 10:00 PM

It might be interesting to see what would happen if one made a concerted effort to knock out the revolutionary guards and leave the conventional army intact. The result might be interesting.

crosspatch on September 16, 2007 at 10:00 PM

Send Israel a pat on the back.
http://www.israelemb.org/
It never hurts to offer a handshake and a ‘well done’.

Limerick on September 16, 2007 at 10:01 PM

I don’t know why we persist in restating this myth – that nuclear weapons are hard to make. In the history of man NO nuke has ever failed to go off. The first one ever “used” (Little Boy) was untested. That was nearly 65 years ago.

It is only the material that is problematic to obtain. Excessive research has always only been to determine the MINIMUM required, then how BIG it can get.

N. Korea’s “fizzled” bomb has more to do with their shortage of material than design. It is basically plug and play.

Syria’s missiles (and Iran’s) are primitive single warhead weapons. If they can launch a washing machine that is more than enough. It is wishful thinking to poo poo their capability because they can’t get the bomb down to the size of a basketball, or hit multiple targets.

It is better to imagine Syria got a bomb from N. Korea without a core – a quick sale. This brings into focus the near guarantee that N. Korea would start a nuke manufacturing business (without nuke material). All that is left is to prove a missile can launch their crude design (remember those missile tests) – check.

Agrippa2k on September 16, 2007 at 10:04 PM

The hardest part in making a bomb, is not the materials. Look at the US effort at Los Alamos. They had the materials long before they figured out the triggering device. The implosion technique was the master stroke that allowed them to have a successful detonation. It required precision engineering. And even so, the bomb was the size of a small car. Iran has no missiles of that capability. What’s more, why would NK, trying to make their own nuclear arsenal, give away, or sell, what little material they have?

jihadwatcher on September 16, 2007 at 10:14 PM

“In the history of man NO nuke has ever failed to go off”

That you know of.

crosspatch on September 16, 2007 at 10:18 PM

Good point, Crosspatch.

“BTW, we tested a bomb today, but it didn’t go off. We are just sending you a note to let you know.”

jihadwatcher on September 16, 2007 at 10:20 PM

The US experienced several failures of rockets in nuclear tests in the 1960′s. While the warhead didn’t fail, its delivery vehicle did which amounts to the same thing. A missile going off course and spewing nuclear material all over the place. I don’t think Jordon, for example, would appreciate either the contamination from a failed event or the fallout from a successful one.

Israel is a small country. Iran uses technology that doesn’t exactly have a stellar performance record. It would be difficult (impossible?) to contain the contamination to areas inside Israel’s borders. Any nuke attack in Israel is also a sign of complete disregard for any of the countries neighboring Israel.

crosspatch on September 16, 2007 at 10:25 PM

Until we get over this idiotic policy of trying to fight morals wars, we need to just let Iran do whatever they want. The ROE’s are hamstringing us in Iraq and Afghanistan and there is no reason to believe we wouldn’t do the same thing in Iran. Just ask Marcus Luttrell how the camel drovers in Afghanistan will travel unarmed while the camels are loaded down with explosives. Our ROE’s prevented his SEAL team from killing those bastards. It is impossible to do your job as a warrior when you’re scared to death the NY Times will be running with a bogus story from Al Jazeera about how renegade US troops killed a bunch of poor dirt farmers.

csdeven on September 16, 2007 at 10:26 PM

It is my relatively uninformed (in that I only have access to media reports) opinion that North Korea attempted twice to detonate a nuclear device and failed both times.

Right now, their nuclear knowhow is one of the few viable exports they have that can generate large amounts of cash. We should simply buy their nuclear scientists from them and provide them with a cushy life on a tropical isle with a complete library, movies, open bar, and cute honeys to feed them grapes.

crosspatch on September 16, 2007 at 10:33 PM

I bet Israel took out some nuclear scientists with its foray into Syria.

Israel is just awesomely awesome.

Stormy70 on September 16, 2007 at 10:42 PM

Down the rabbit hole we go. Hold on boys and girls as it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Limerick on September 16, 2007 at 10:49 PM

“Bush set to bomb Iran back to the stone age!”

crosspatch on September 16, 2007 at 9:45 PM

What, that’s like last Tuesday?

- The Cat

MirCat on September 17, 2007 at 12:36 AM

Has Allahpundit crapped his pants yet?

Seems that when the going gets tough, AllahPunny craps soils his/her Haines.

mylegsareswollen on September 17, 2007 at 2:03 AM

I noticed the complete lack of outrage from the usual suspects that accompany most Israeli military maneuvers.

Stormy70 on September 16, 2007 at 9:52 PM

The dog that didn’t bark?

MB4 on September 17, 2007 at 3:12 AM

It is impossible to do your job as a warrior when you’re scared to death the NY Times will be running with a bogus story from Al Jazeera about how renegade US troops killed a bunch of poor dirt farmers.

csdeven on September 16, 2007 at 10:26 PM

Well said, csd.

Texas Nick 77 on September 17, 2007 at 7:27 AM

Has Allahpundit crapped his pants yet?

Seems that when the going gets tough, AllahPunny craps soils his/her Haines.

mylegsareswollen on September 17, 2007 at 2:03 AM

One those moonbats in puberty seems to have crept in.

Aylios on September 17, 2007 at 8:44 AM

amid growing fears among serving officers

Just confirms to me that the Pentagon has become a nest of cowardly leftists just like every other department of the US government.

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…

Not that “arming and training militants” would result in us attacking Iran but that “public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq” would lead to that. Just shows that the State department is no longer an agent and service of the American people and is opposed to the protection of the American people and the sovereignty of our country.

This country will be apologizing to the islamists on the day they take over our country.

peacenprosperity on September 17, 2007 at 9:30 AM

I’m starting to get nervous too.

I’m not nervous about a strike, I’m nervous that there will not be a strike. We have fascism on the march in the world again (including in the democrat party) but this time they have nuclear weapons. They will use those weapons on us first if we don’t solve (not talk about) the problem. This country might survive not doing anything but fortress America will not be a fun place to live when authoritarianism at home becomes the only way to protect ourselves from the fascists outside our borders.

peacenprosperity on September 17, 2007 at 9:41 AM

We have discussed the options available to the US if we are hit with a nuclear device yet cannot place blame with any real certainty. Considering the ROE’s we are operating under, does anyone think that we wont just refuse to act out of fear of the PC police’s attacks if the bad guys claim we bomb some innocent peasants? The dems will deride any intel we have, the reps will be too chicken to stand up to the dems, and the MSM, along with the Ron Paul kooks, will blame the entire event on the neo-con agenda.
OH, Teddy Roosevelt, where are you?

csdeven on September 17, 2007 at 10:35 AM

I’m not nervous about a strike, I’m nervous that there will not be a strike.

PandP, I know what you’re sayin’, and I don’t disagree. But I sure don’t want a bombing war with Iran, and I think that’s what Allah’s nerves are all about.

As for the stone age, they’re pretty much there now.

Bottom line, if we gotta bomb the mullahs, do it right. Bomb the crap out of ‘em.

Jaibones on September 17, 2007 at 10:53 AM

I didn’t think NK had a deliverable warhead. If they do, that’s certainly cause for worry. Also, for as much as we hear that nukes are floating around on the black market, you’d figure these regimes would have just bought one or more of those and gotten it over with already. Maybe there aren’t as many floating around as we hear. Whatever they took out, kudos to the Israelis for taking things seriously and defending themselves. As for bombing Iran, I’m nervous too. I think it may come to pass and believe maybe it should, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park, that’s for sure. The enemy will shoot back.

CP on September 17, 2007 at 11:52 AM

Plus: Bush set to bomb Iran back to the stone age!

It’s not that long a trip… they are already stuck in the year of Mohammad.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on September 17, 2007 at 3:50 PM

I’m starting to get nervous too.

I’m starting to get fatalistic at this point.

aengus on September 17, 2007 at 10:04 PM