Curiouser and curiouser: Syrian reactor bombed by Israel was built in 2003

posted at 6:25 pm on October 27, 2007 by Allahpundit

Watch the talking point congeal in paragraph two.

The mystery surrounding the construction of what might have been a nuclear reactor in Syria deepened Friday, when a company released a satellite photo showing that the main building was well under way in September 2003 — four years before Israeli jets bombed it.

The long genesis is likely to raise questions about whether the Bush administration overlooked a nascent atomic threat in Syria while planning and executing a war in Iraq, which was later found to have no active nuclear program.

A senior American intelligence official said Friday that American analysts had looked carefully at the site from its early days, but were unsure then whether it posed a nuclear threat…

The senior intelligence official said that American spy satellites and analysts had, in fact, watched the site for years.

“It was noticed, without knowing what it was,” the official said. “You revisit every so often, but it was not a high priority. You see things that raise the flag and you know you have to keep looking. It was a case of watching it evolve.”

Why did Israel hit the reactor now if they were comfortable enough with it for four years? The likely answer lies in this WaPo report from a few days after the airstrike. To borrow a phrase, strange things were afoot at the Circle K:

[A] prominent U.S. expert on the Middle East, who has interviewed Israeli participants in a mysterious raid over Syria last week, reported that the attack appears to have been linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying material from North Korea labeled as cement…

The expert said it is not clear what the ship was carrying, but the emerging consensus in Israel was that it delivered nuclear equipment. The ship arrived Sept. 3 in the Syrian port of Tartus; the attack occurred Sept. 6 under such strict operational security that the pilots flying air cover for the attack aircraft did not know details of the mission. The pilots who conducted the attack were briefed only after they were in the air, he said.

Sounds like, with the shell of the reactor already long in place, they were finally ready to take “the next step,” forced perhaps by the fact that North Korea had made a deal with the west to denuclearize and needed to unload some of its infrastructure. What’s less clear is why Israel would attack now instead of later. Whatever it is that North Korea delivered, it surely wasn’t a functioning reactor-in-a-box; it would have taken a few years, at least, to get it up and running. The fact that Israel moved on it now may be a sign that Israeli intelligence thinks Iran’s closer to having a bomb than expected and that a shot across the bow is sorely needed. If you believe Strategy Page, that warning shot served its purpose: all your (air warning) base are belong to us.


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Buying WMD off the shelf from North Korea probably would have been Saddam’s choice if he were still in charge and flush with oil money after sanctions being lifted.
Don’t tell me the Iraq War was a mistake.

RobCon on October 27, 2007 at 6:39 PM

H. L. Mencken:
It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake

In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Perhaps the Israelis wanted all concerned to expend the sinful time and effort to weave their tangled, complicit web before sweeping the floor clean of them.

Speakup on October 27, 2007 at 6:46 PM

Perhaps the Israelis wanted all concerned to expend the sinful time and effort to weave their tangled, complicit web before sweeping the floor clean of them.

The incentive to wait further, once this unspecified Nork material was delivered, wasn’t enough to compensate for the value of letting Iran know that the Little Satan can fly into their airspace any time they damn wish, and there isn’t anything the Iranians can do about it. And it means that the Great Satan can, too.

The message to Iran is that mere days after you have all the equipment in place to begin producing weapons-grade fissionable material, expect it to be gone.

The Monster on October 27, 2007 at 6:54 PM

…the Bush administration overlooked a nascent atomic threat in Syria while planning and executing a war in Iraq…

Exactly. All of our geospatial imaging satellites were reprogrammed to crash into Saddam’s presidential palaces. Shock and Awe.

RedWinged Blackbird on October 27, 2007 at 6:54 PM

The message to Iran is that mere days after you have all the equipment in place to begin producing weapons-grade fissionable material, expect it to be gone.

The Monster on October 27, 2007 at 6:54 PM

I think the message was a bit more nuanced than that. More like, if the Little Satan can slip in this effectively just imagine what having the Big Satan come for you means.

doriangrey on October 27, 2007 at 7:12 PM

Why would Iran have to import cement anyway? Also, I read that Iran was giving Venezuela the $ to build a cement factory. Doesn’t add up

JiangxiDad on October 27, 2007 at 7:12 PM

First the best time to strike a destructive blow on a reactor is before it develops a power history that would spread radiological contamination.

Second based on this time frame who would have been in charge of the primary intel gathering and analysis but Ms Valerie Plame Wilson. But what the heck she missed Lybia to so what’s the difference.

CommentGuy on October 27, 2007 at 7:13 PM

the main building was well under way in September 2003 — four years before Israeli jets bombed it.

Hmmm. . . September 2003. . . Syria begins work on a reactor?
Hmmm. . .March 2003. . .wasn’t that about the time that we invaded Iraq?
Hmmm. . . Because Iraq potentially had WMD’s and specifically they were working on a nuclear weapons.
Hmmm. . . wasn’t there a stream of supplies leaving Iraq for Syria in the months leading up to the war?
Hmmm. . .it’s all so curious.

Troy Rasmussen on October 27, 2007 at 7:22 PM

Troy Rasmussen on October 27, 2007 at 7:22 PM

Now now, just you quit trying to put those puzzle pieces together, you know this is all a gigantic Hushitler Haliburton von Rovian Darth Cheney plot…….

doriangrey on October 27, 2007 at 7:26 PM

I think the message was a bit more nuanced than that. More like, if the Little Satan can slip in this effectively just imagine what having the Big Satan come for you means.

I think the message is Don’t f&^* with the IAF.

I really think the majority of the supplies for the Syrian Nuclear plant came from Iraq. So mayhaps Israel saw the line of stuff coming and thought, Hmm, maybe we should do something about that. And they did.

mjk on October 27, 2007 at 7:28 PM

Troy Rasmussen on October 27, 2007 at 7:22 PM

Everyone mocked Debka for saying this at the time. (“This” being that Saddam was sending his WMDs off to Syria.)

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on October 27, 2007 at 7:52 PM

Agree it is likely a ‘shot across the bow’. But I think sometimes if it is not an immediate threat, it is a good idea to monitor the activity to see what other intelligence you can get from it. In other words, who is involved, what are they trying to do. All-in-all, not likely that either the US or Israel were surprised by it. Threat neutralized.

ThackerAgency on October 27, 2007 at 8:11 PM

None of it makes any sense to me and with no one talking about this at all, the mystery only deepens. But it tickles my fancy to think that the Israelis (and us?) so completely own these Arab twits in Syria and Iran that they can fly in there, all the way to the north, wipe out this thing that they weren’t supposed to know exists, without triggering the Russian air defense systems that they’re not supposed to know exist, and leave the Syria, Iran, Russia and China all looking at each other with blank faces and angry thoughts.

Jooooooooooooooos!

I can’t escape the thought, too, that the Israelis must have someone inside Syria at a level so high that they knew what was on the ship from Nork, and that the bombing run had the added benefit of telling Syria that they weren’t afraid of exposure. That’s wicked scary confidence, if true.

Jaibones on October 27, 2007 at 8:24 PM

That’s wicked scary confidence, if true.

Jaibones on October 27, 2007 at 8:24 PM

And it probably is true…

doriangrey on October 27, 2007 at 9:09 PM

Why did Israel hit the reactor now …

Maybe certain senior managers were on-site that day.

Zorro on October 27, 2007 at 9:20 PM

Maybe certain senior managers were on-site that day.

Zorro on October 27, 2007 at 9:20 PM

Were reports that several Korean Sceintists were killed or wounded that day

hmmm

William Amos on October 27, 2007 at 9:23 PM

Here is what I caught

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/910257.html

Washington Post: Several N. Korean scientists hurt in IAF strike in Syria

By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent

WASHINGTON – A top-secret report by the U.S. intelligence services says several North Korean scientists were injured in Israel’s strike in Syria last month, top Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland reported in the paper Sunday.

Some two weeks ago, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported that diplomats in North Korea and China believed a number of North Koreans had been killed in the strike, based on reports reaching Asian governments about conversations between Chinese and North Korean officials.

William Amos on October 27, 2007 at 9:25 PM

From a State Department Release by John Bolton Sept 16, 2003

Nuclear
As I informed Congress last fall, we are concerned about Syria’s nuclear R&D program and continue to watch for any signs of nuclear weapons activity or foreign assistance that could facilitate a Syrian nuclear weapons capability. We are aware of Syrian efforts to acquire dual-use technologies—some, through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Technical Cooperation program—that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program. In addition, Russia and Syria have approved a draft program on cooperation on civil nuclear power. Broader access to Russian expertise could provide opportunities for Syria to expand its indigenous capabilities, should it decide to pursue nuclear weapons. The Syrians have a Chinese-supplied “miniature” research reactor under IAEA safeguards at Dayr Al Hajar.

Syria is a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has a standard safeguards agreement with the IAEA but, like Iran, has not yet signed or, to our knowledge, even begun negotiations on the IAEA Additional Protocol. The Additional Protocol is an important tool that, if fully implemented, could strengthen the IAEA’s investigative powers to verify compliance with NPT safeguards obligations and provides the IAEA with the ability to act quickly on any indicators of undeclared nuclear materials, facilities and activities. We believe the Additional Protocol should be a new minimal standard for countries to demonstrate their nonproliferation bona fides.

 

CommentGuy on October 27, 2007 at 9:56 PM

However did anyone manage to find out what was going on in Syria/Iran without our top notch blonde bombshell spy on the job?

Sue on October 27, 2007 at 9:59 PM

However did anyone manage to find out what was going on in Syria/Iran without our top notch blonde bombshell spy on the job?

Sue on October 27, 2007 at 9:59 PM

Heh heh heh it was probably the fact that she wasn’t there anymore to prevent them from doing so that it happened…

doriangrey on October 27, 2007 at 10:09 PM

doriangrey on October 27, 2007 at 7:12 PM

I love the smell of Arabic humiliation in the morning!

Wanderlust on October 27, 2007 at 10:20 PM

Everyone mocked Debka for saying this at the time. (”This” being that Saddam was sending his WMDs off to Syria.)

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on October 27, 2007 at 7:52 PM

Then there was Gen. Georges Sada, who was apparently talking to a wall.

Pablo on October 27, 2007 at 10:20 PM

“If you believe Strategy Page, that warning shot served its purpose: all your (air warning) base are belong to us.”

thank you… there is tea all over my 3 monitors now.

Kaptain Amerika on October 27, 2007 at 10:24 PM

Then there was Gen. Georges Sada, who was apparently talking to a wall.

Pablo on October 27, 2007 at 10:20 PM

Very interesting article.

doriangrey on October 27, 2007 at 10:55 PM

I can’t think of another example of a nation striking against another and then not mentioning it or explaining why they did it. Wazzzup?

Mojave Mark on October 28, 2007 at 12:37 AM

A SIMPLE YET GRAND SHELL GAME with Pinocchio Bush at the helm keeps us peons askew.

Follow the money to recognize the puppetmasters; don’t get stuck on the particular politician in the spotlight. They are all of the same master manipulative company troupe, globalizing via concurrent deceptions and placations.

Which info to release, which info to create, which info to act upon…

Regardless of which, be it Bosnian, Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian, Iranian, Iraqi, UAE, Palestinian, ourselves, the news is always fabricated toward the objective. It is all propaganda that keeps us worker bees buzzing accordingly. In current events, it becomes more and more difficult to see or even imagine sanity ruling the day.

I would the objective be to uphold our Constitution. But all those who do so are ultimately given the shaft in the grand shell game enforced by globalists. In our contemporary Oval Office, the motto is not “the buck stops here” as the shaft is utilized ever so frequently.

maverick muse on October 28, 2007 at 8:20 AM

Allah,

Strategy Page suggests Suter was involved, but this October 6 article came to the same conclusion several weeks earlier.

lawhawk on October 28, 2007 at 9:26 AM

Can’t run a reactor without fuel…

My guess is that the plant was built… but they had no fuel for it…

With the NORKs shutting down their reactors, they had to do somthing with the fuel, and so sold it to Syria. The “cement” was used as a sheilding agent so no radioactive signature could be detected at any great distance.

My guess is that Isreal hit just as they were preparing to fuel the reactor (it takes some time to do this)…

Now the big question… that no one is addressing… where is the fuel? Did Israel go in and get it? or is it still in Syrian, or even worse, Iranian hands?

Romeo13 on October 28, 2007 at 10:51 AM

Finally, a “Suter” that I like…

CliffHanger on October 28, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Troy Rasmussen on October 27, 2007 at 7:22 PM

Excellent point.

agape,
robb

wuzrobbd on October 28, 2007 at 12:59 PM

maverick muse on October 28, 2007 at 8:20 AM

Clean up on isle 11, Ron Paultard alert, Ron Paultard alert…

doriangrey on October 28, 2007 at 4:06 PM

maverick muse on October 28, 2007 at 8:20 AM

Pay not attention to that clown; it is really just someone’s puckered anus with a lot of makeup…

Jaibones on October 28, 2007 at 10:17 PM

Romeo13 – That is a delicious question, which absolutely no one is going to answer on any level from Washington.

DoriaGrey – Good to see you back and pray all is well in S.D..

24K lady on October 28, 2007 at 11:17 PM