Report: Israeli airstrike targeted Syrian missiles, not nuke material

It’s hard lefty news zine Raw Story with a scoop penned by Larisa “Bush Signs the Reichstag Fire Decree” Alexandrovna. Empty that salt shaker and enjoy:

Israel did not strike a nuclear weapons facility in Syria on Sept. 6, instead striking a cache of North Korean missiles, current and former intelligence officials say.

American intelligence sources familiar with key events leading up to the Israeli air raid tell RAW STORY that what the Syrians actually had were North Korean No-Dong missiles, possibly located at a site in either the city of Musalmiya in the northern part of Syria or further south around the city of Hama…

By most accounts of intelligence officials, both former and current, Israel and the US both were well aware of the activities of North Korea and Syria and their attempts to chemically weaponize the No-Dong missile (above right). It therefore remains unclear why an intricate story involving evidence of a Syrian nuclear weapons program and/or enriched uranium was put out to press organizations.

The North Korean missiles — described as “legacy” by one source and “older generation” by another — were not nuclear arms.

What set the Israelis in motion, according to RS, was that suspicious accident in July allegedly involving a malfunctioning chemical warhead and a bunch of dead Syrian and North Korean engineers. Why would Syria need medium-range missiles with a 1,300km radius to deliver chemical payloads to Tel Aviv when the country sits right on Israel’s doorstep? Ah — that’s the importance of the missiles being “older.” They were all Assad had available to him in this scenario. And why would they use Nodongs when they could get Shahab-3’s from their pals in Iran, which have almost the same range and are capable of carrying chemical warheads? Same reason, I guess: if you’ve got a bunch of aging Nodongs in the fridge, why not use them instead of springing for a new set of Shahabs? Of course, given the partnership between Iran and Syria, Iran might have been willing to cut them a deal or even supplied a few missiles gratis to keep the “Zionist entity” on its toes, but never mind that.

As for the unusual secrecy and whispers about a nuke program by the U.S. and Israel, that one’s easy. It’s just another Reichstag fire burning or about to burn. Of course, if the nuclear rumors are just a pretext for another round of neocon war, it makes no sense for Bush or Olmert to accuse North Korea of being the supplier instead of Iran. North Korea’s the rogue nation that’s actually kinda sorta playing ball lately; Iran’s the “problem child.” It’s the same pitfall the Truthers have with the fact that none of the 19 hijackers was Iraqi. If you’re going to cook up a conspiracy theory to explain a war, you’ll want that theory to finger the targeted nation as the patsy as clearly as possible. Not here. Oh well.

Finally, a former NSC/CIA honcho under Reagan tells RS that Syria’s nuke program is fledgling and thus they couldn’t do much with nuclear materials even if they had them. Right, but what if they were interested in something more than materials?