Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

October 10, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SYRIA UPDATE....Now the Syrians are saying — what? That there was no Israeli attack last month at all? That there was an attack, but it did no damage? "You see — around us are farmers, corn, produce, nothing else." WTF?

Kevin Drum 9:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

If the Israel attack on Syria was mainly a proof-in-concept that they can bypass the Syrian/Iranian radar system, then Syria would be well advised to claim that no bypass occurred.

Posted by: absent observer on October 10, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think it far more likely that it was a rerun of the Bekaa Valley Air Battle to take out Syria's air defences again. According to ALASTAIR CROOKE of Conflict Forum:
The Syrians saw on their radars the four fighters that penetrated into Northern Syria from the Mediterranean; but they also saw the much larger numbers of Israeli aircraft that were flying in a holding position close to Cyprus. The Syrians were not about to disclose their anti-aircraft missile capacities to Israel; and the intruders dropped the munitions and their long-range fuel tanks without pressing any attack, but returned to join the larger group still flying a holding pattern off Cyprus before all returned to Israel as a single formation.

Posted by: blowback on October 10, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

And a 21st century "reporter" again muddies the news with a fake report trying to slant the news & opinion. Big Deal. And a govt official leads another reporter by the nose to the area in question to "prove' nothing happened. What else is new? Of course the story occurred miles away. And the Syrians aren't letting anybody within miles of IT, whatever IT is.

This story gets more weird by the hour. Like you said, Kevin. WTF?

Posted by: bob in fl on October 10, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that the first problem here is the place, Deir ez Zor. That would have been the place Israel would have struck if they were interested in taking out nuke research supposedly. So this report only affirms that no strike took place in Deir ez Zor, hence no strike on nuclear experimentation. That still leaves the possibility of Hama, where there's a huge missile/chem weapons facility and has been suggested as the possible point of interest to Israel. Still, all in all, the Israeli/Syrian reticence in discussing the raid is certainly very, very strange.

Posted by: nepeta on October 10, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting. Now we have invisible bombing to go with all the no comments?

Ok. VoA says Syria will protest Israeli violation of airspace.
http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-09-11-voa71.cfm
Global Security says same.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2007/09/mil-070911-voa07.htm
Turkey joins Syria to decry airspace violation
http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2372411
BBC says Syria fired on Israeli jets
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6981674.stm
BBC says Israel bombed Syria
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7024287.stm
Carpetbagger noting that Netenyahu admitted the bombing occured:
http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/12952.html

So back to square one, what we know about this from print reports is that Israel violated Syrian airspace, there is a hole in the desert, nobody will go on record saying that there were nukes involved (there are those 'senior administration' sockpuppet zombies but who counts those?), and GHWB NSC saying there were no nukes. Everything else is spin and hot air, maybe signifying nothing.

I'm sticking with my theory that Israel offed some Syrian short range missiles, and tested the Israeli radar jamming equipment. Combined with the July fire in the Syrian chemical weapons factory one could say Israel is having a great quarter. Condi is getting good press as being cautionary, Stephen Hadley is still stovepiping info, and Cheney got China to walk out on Condi's mideast peace talks - win-win for the Israel/American hawk association.

See the October 6th thread on this blog for my sources.

Posted by: Sailmaker on October 10, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

All they are saying is that an Israeli journalist lied about an attack at a specific site. Big deal.

Please stop promulgating the FUD orchestrated by the neocons to get the ball rolling against Iran.

Posted by: Disputo on October 10, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

How about posting about the fight to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and the admin's preference for being Turkey's bitch?

Posted by: Disputo on October 10, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't they saying it killed some farmers?

I bet we offered them something really nice to shut up about it, so the mess-up wouldn't get into the media.

Posted by: Swan on October 10, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bibi Drum is absolutely right.

The IAF strike on Syrian soil was a mission accomplished.

Why?

Because Israel couldn't afford a Syrian "smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Because Syria is a "grave and gathering danger."

Because there is "no doubt that Syria now has weapons of mass destruction."

Because Syria "has trained al-Qaida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September 11 Syria's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America."

Because Syria's "weapons of mass terror and the terror networks to which the Syrian regime are linked are not two separate themes -- not two separate threats. They are part of the same threat."

Because Israel was "absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming."

Because "intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Syrian regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

Because Syria "has a weapons program and intelligence throughout the decade shows they have a weapons program and Israel is absolutely convinced with time they'll find out that Syria did have a weapons program."

Because Israel has "identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Syria has concealed from the United Nations."


Non-existent weapons - destroyed.

Non-existent nuclear weapons program - destroyed.

Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities, i.e., preformed concrete - destroyed.

Mission accomplished indeed.

Posted by: Silver Surfer on October 10, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Since both Israel and Syria know if there was a bombing or not, to the extent that their stories differ, one of them is lying -- or both.

Can't see a reason why Israel is lying about whether there was a bombing -- though its beliefs about what was bombed may be inaccurate.

Syria, however, may have an interest in falsely claiming that there was no bombing. First, it restores its image with its own people, and with the rest of the Arabs, who would otherwise have seen an unanswered Israeli attack as a sleight.

And of course if Syria did indeed have a nuclear site going, lying about the bombing means it doesn't have to discuss why the site was secret.

As for the latest theater reported by the NY Times -- it could be that the Israeli journalist who slipped into Syria went to the wrong site -- maybe the Syrians intentionally misled him? -- and the Syrians are now trying to pick up some PR points from that mistake.

Being reality-based is getting harder and harder.

Posted by: JS on October 11, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Niger Documents redo.

WE TOOK OUT THE SECRET SYRIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS SITE, WITH NORTH KOREAN TECHNOLOGY AND GIVING NUKES TO IRAN!!!! INVADE ANY ONE OF THE AXIS YOU WANT!!!

It doesn't fly like WMD, so... maybe it didn't really happen. On to next fabricated scenario... IRAN IS SUPPLYING WEAPONS TO INSURGENTS!!!! FROM NORTH KOREA!!! THROUGH SYRIA!!! ATTACK ONE! PLEASE!!!!! ANY ONE YOU WANT! PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, FEAR FOR YOU LIVES SO WE CAN ATTACK SOMEBODY!!!!!!!

Posted by: Memekiller on October 11, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Is it Halloween yet?

Because reading Kevin Drum on Hillary or Israel is increasingly a trick or trite proposition.

Posted by: Michael Myers on October 11, 2007 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Well, this is actually consistent with Syria's story: First they said they were bombed in a remote area, and Israel said they hadn't. Then more planes went, and Israel copped to attacking.

But all along Syria has said they had no idea what Israel was doing, as they bombed a bunch of fields...

So, who and what happened? If it was just a bunch of fields, we can get a satellite or aerial view, right?

Posted by: Crissa on October 11, 2007 at 5:04 AM | PERMALINK

Also...

...If they bombed a nuclear site, we'd know instantly, because there's be radioactive debris stirred up into the air that we could detect.

And there hasn't been. So there hasn't been an attack on a nuclear target.

Posted by: Crissa on October 11, 2007 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

Just like the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 was a "mistake" - you cannot trust the government of Israel. They are self-absorbed liars who receive more foreign aid from the US than we give to any other country and then turn around and screw us in the ass every chance they get. They will get us into the next World War - count on it.

With nuclear-proliferating friends like these, who needs enemies??

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 11, 2007 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK

Syria seeks to save face by showing journalists a building and a field, Israel slaps an embargo on any more articles that they bombed "something" and people (i.e. KD) say WTF? Isn't this a good sign?

Neither party wants to ratchet up the rhetoric thus avoiding an escalation from which no good can come. Israel and Syria both know what happened and apparently, both sides seem content to leave the situation alone.

Posted by: TJM on October 11, 2007 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Both of Crissa's posts are on the money.

Posted by: Tracer Hand on October 11, 2007 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

I wrote:

I bet we offered them something really nice to shut up about it, so the mess-up wouldn't get into the media.

I think this was a joint US-Israel operation, and a US intelligence botch-up. I think in the context of the report on the surge, and everyone thinking about the admin's mistakes in the war all along, they kept the Syria bombing out of the press to avoid embarrassment.

Posted by: Swan on October 11, 2007 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

LOL -- Crissa, there doesn't have to be a ballgame going on for it to be a ballpark. Bases, the diamond, a backstop, an infield and an outfield -- you don't actually need baseballs rolling through the dirt and grass, or flying through the air, to make it a baseball field.

Put it this way: Syria could buy all the electricity -generating nuke technology it wants from France. What, ya think the NORTH KOREANS are better at electricity generation?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

LOL -- Crissa, there doesn't have to be a ballgame going on for it to be a ballpark.

ROTFLMAO. Not.

Hey idiot - Why don't you "laugh out loud" to troops dying for a casus belli based on weapons of mass destruction even though "there doesn't have to be" weapons of mass destruction?

Posted by: the Patriot on October 11, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

It was concrete. Maybe or even preformed concrete. Perhaps preformed concrete of a shape or shapes suitable for, say, a cooling tower, tunnel etc.

But it was still concrete.

Concrete isn't a cause for war. Concrete doesn't justify state to state provocation. Concrete can't justify air strikes and/or the potential for escalation arising therefrom.

Concrete is concrete.

Israel is full of shite.

Posted by: Lime in the coconut on October 11, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Cuz they're not the same. Saddam Hussein HAD been trying to get nukes (that's why the Israelis attacked Osirak in 1981), and EVERYBODY acknowledges that after the Israelis crippled his program, he tried HARDER, all the way through the first Gulf War. The WMD argument before Bush attacked him was about whether he had managed to "reconstitute" what he'd done before (he hadn't), not whether he'd ever done it.

(patiently) Crissa's argument, such as it is, is that if Israel bombed a place that was being built to make nuclear weapons, there would have had to be nuclear materials actually THERE at the time, and a plume of nuke dust and radiation to be measured and prove that it was a nuke site.

That's simply stooopid. It's not so.

In another thread, I gave the example of a submarine pen. We blew up lots of 'em in WW2 when there weren't any submarines in 'em -- but that didn't mean we weren't bombing "sub bases".

Didn't seem particularly complex reasoning to me, but folks don't seem to get it (viz., Crissa), so I gave the ballpark example. What makes is a ballpark is some minimum amount of infrastructure -- you could argue that you don't need foul lines or dugouts, but most folks would agree that somewhere between an open field and Yankee Stadium, it becomes a "ballpark".

So your basic sandlot is still a ballpark, cuz it was BUILT that way, with the diamond and the basepaths (many fields you have to measure the bases for every damn game, btw, cuz they don't have permanent bases), etc., even if there isn't a baseball anywhere on it.

Just so with a nuclear facility under construction. I'd bet that for some facilities, particularly those handling very small amounts of plutonium, the actually nuclear material is the LAST thing to arrive. If you're gonna generate electricity with nuclear power, it'd be different: both the materials and the general knowledge is widely available.

But it's specific EXPERTISE you need first to make weapons. So WTF do you think the North Koreans were DOING there, Patriot?

Think they're the world's best available experts on ... electricity generation?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Cheney had his pals bomb an open field so they could claim it was a nuke site, thus sparking a nuke hysteria that led to bombing Tehran and/or North Korea and Syria.

Posted by: Memekiller on October 11, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

That yellow cloud of dust rising from the farmer's fields must have from that new Archer-Midland-Daniels, lend lease, Yellow Cake program.

And, now "The Few, The Proud, The Cut and Runners" want out of Iraq - Sort of an over the horizon redeployment to Afghanistan, eh? Will give new meaning to "Poppy Fields".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 11, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

How about this one: A group of Korean-American FBI agents posing as DPRK representatives sold Syria what they thought was bomb-grade plutonium. They tracked the "shipment" to the site in Syria where it was going to be stored. Then they called in the air strike. The Syrians realized they were part of the sting operation and they are embarrassed. That's why everybody is staying quiet about it. No real nuclear material was involved. We keep quiet, you keep quiet. Don't try it again. :-)

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on October 11, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

So WTF do you think the North Koreans were DOING there, Patriot?

And WTF said the "North Koreans" were "there?"

You?

No one from Israel has asserted the presence of any North Koreans at the site in question.

However, Syria has signed and executed economic and commercial co-operation agreements with South Korea and there are South Koreans throughout Syria, including the corridor from Allepo to Deir Ezzor, working with Syrians on everything from agricultural projects to telecommunications infrastructure.



Posted by: the Patriot on October 11, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

"If they bombed a nuclear site, we'd know instantly, because there's be radioactive debris stirred up into the air that we could detect."
_____________________

Not necessarily. There are many variables, including what was hit, how much nuclear material was present, size and persistence of the plume, and the presence or lack of an aerial sampling system. If not reported by the Syrians, we might not learn of any radiation release at all.

Posted by: Trashhauler on October 11, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, the Americanist fails to mention that the only reason Saddam Hussein was even capable of producing WMDs, is because Republicans like George H.W. Bush and Robert Gates sold the components to him. These men need to be tried for treason, as they were clearly providing aid and comfort to enemies of the United States.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 11, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Patriot asks: "And WTF said the "North Koreans" were "there?"

The North Koreans.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- what an accusing tone, that I "failed to mention" something not particularly relevant to the Syria raid. Rumsfeld's picture with Saddam in the early 1980s doesn't magically dissolve North Koreans at the Syrian site in September 2007.

But ya know what really troubles me about American flip-flops in who we're for and who we're against in the Middle East? I think of Palmerston's famous observation that in foreign policy there are no permanent friends, and no permanent enemies, there are only permanent interests.

It is NOT true (and sorta silly to even bring up the idea) that Rumsfeld sucking up to Saddam in the 1980s was "treason" -- Iran had committed an act of war against us by holding our diplomats hostage. Saddam was at war with Iran. So whatever else was true about the bastard, at THAT moment, he wasn't our enemy.

Didn't make him our friend, either.

When Palmerston (or, for that matter, Churchill, or Lloyd George) talked about Britain's permanent interests in Europe, they were clear: for 500 years, Britain was always on the side of the balance against any power, or group of powers, that would have tended to dominate. They were FOR William of Orange against the Spanish, and eventually fought for Spain against the French, they were with the Germans against Napoleon, and fought with France against the Germans twice -- pretty much losing the Empire in the process. There's a consistency there: not friends or enemies, but permanent interests.

I don't see that in how we're banging around in the Middle East. Many folks forget that it was Kissinger who kicked off the oil price shock of the 70s, when he had the Shah double the price of crude in the spring of 1973, months before the OAPEC embargo that fall. (The Sunnis only did it cuz the Shi'ites showed 'em how.) So we've been for Iran, and against it, for Saddam, and against him: WTF?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

If not reported by the Syrians, we might not learn of any radiation release at all.
Posted by: Trashhauler on October 11, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"And WTF said the "North Koreans" were "there?" The North Koreans. Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Is our children learning?

Yes. Our children is learning to become dumb and dumber cretins.

Posted by: Riddley Walker on October 11, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK
Put it this way: Syria could buy all the electricity -generating nuke technology it wants from France....theAmericanist at 10:36 AM
The Syrians could buy whatever they needed from Pakistan. Why would anyone buy from North Korea who has no worthwhile nuclear technology to sell. Missiles, yes; nuclear technology, laughable. Even though you love to swallow the propaganda, you should think twice before saying something once. Posted by: Mike on October 11, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like you are a "moral relativist", Americanist. Something liberals are always accused of. Conservatives worship only one god - money. That is why they are so deeply morally conflicted. As it says in Paul's letter to Timothy, "Money is the root of ALL evil." Not some evil, not when it isn't being used for evil ends. Money is the root of all evil. Those who worship it are worshipping evil. That must be why Donald Rumsfeld helped sell North Korea nuclear reactors in 2000, and then declared them part of the Axis of Evil three years later. It takes evil to recognize evil….

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 11, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Deflator, you're ballooning.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Riddley Walker wrote:

"'If not reported by the Syrians, we might not learn of any radiation release at all.
Posted by: Trashhauler on October 11, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK'

Is our children learning?

Yes. Our children is learning to become dumb and dumber cretins."
________________________

Riddley, do you have some heretofore unknown information to share with regard to our ability to detect radiation?

Posted by: Trashhauler on October 11, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Mike's right, of course -- buying electricity technology from North Korea would be like hiring Hutu as peacekeepers.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 11, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly