Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’

Discussion in 'Modern' started by syscom3, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    From The Sunday Times
    September 16, 2007
    Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’
    Secret raid on Korean shipment

    Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’ - Times Online

    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.

    Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.

    The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”
    Related Links

    The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.” The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

    Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from “secret suppliers”, and added that there were a “number of foreign technicians” in the country.

    Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

    But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

    Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?

    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.

    “This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”

    An expert on the Middle East, who has spoken to Israeli participants in the raid, told yesterday’s Washington Post that the timing of the raid on September 6 appeared to be linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean material labelled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.

    The target was identified as a northern Syrian facility that purported to be an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates river. Israel had been monitoring it for some time, concerned that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphates.

    According to an Israeli air force source, the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was diverted from Iran to Syria. It sent out high-quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it easy for air force specialists to spot the facility.

    Early in the summer Ehud Barak, the defence minister, had given the order to double Israeli forces on its Golan Heights border with Syria in anticipation of possible retaliation by Damascus in the event of air strikes.

    Sergei Kirpichenko, the Russian ambassador to Syria, warned President Bashar al-Assad last month that Israel was planning an attack, but suggested the target was the Golan Heights.

    Israeli military intelligence sources claim Syrian special forces moved towards the Israeli outpost of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights. Tension rose, but nobody knew why.

    At this point, Barak feared events could spiral out of control. The decision was taken to reduce the number of Israeli troops on the Golan Heights and tell Damascus the tension was over. Syria relaxed its guard shortly before the Israeli Defence Forces struck.

    Only three Israeli cabinet ministers are said to have been in the know � Olmert, Barak and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister. America was also consulted. According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their US counterparts.

    Once the mission was under way, Israel imposed draconian military censorship and no news of the operation emerged until Syria complained that Israeli aircraft had violated its airspace. Syria claimed its air defences had engaged the planes, forcing them to drop fuel tanks to lighten their loads as they fled.

    But intelligence sources suggested it was a highly successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.

    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.

    There is no doubt, however, that North Korea is accused of nuclear cooperation with Syria, helped by AQ Khan’s network. John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department, told the United Nations in 2004 the Pakistani nuclear scientist had “several other” customers besides Iran, Libya and North Korea.

    Some of his evidence came from the CIA, which had reported to Congress that it viewed “Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern”.

    “I’ve been worried for some time about North Korea and Iran outsourcing their nuclear programmes,” Bolton said last week. Syria, he added, was a member of a “junior axis of evil”, with a well-established ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction.

    The links between Syria and North Korea date back to the rule of Kim Il-sung and President Hafez al-Assad in the last century. In recent months, their sons have quietly ordered an increase in military and technical cooperation.

    Foreign diplomats who follow North Korean affairs are taking note. There were reports of Syrian passengers on flights from Beijing to Pyongyang and sightings of Middle Eastern businessmen from sources who watch the trains from North Korea to China.

    On August 14, Rim Kyong Man, the North Korean foreign trade minister, was in Syria to sign a protocol on “cooperation in trade and science and technology”. No details were released, but it caught Israel’s attention.

    Syria possesses between 60 and 120 Scud-C missiles, which it has bought from North Korea over the past 15 years. Diplomats believe North Korean engineers have been working on extending their 300-mile range. It means they can be used in the deserts of northeastern Syria � the area of the Israeli strike.

    The triangular relationship between North Korea, Syria and Iran continues to perplex intelligence analysts. Syria served as a conduit for the transport to Iran of an estimated £50m of missile components and technology sent by sea from North Korea. The same route may be in use for nuclear equipment.

    But North Korea is at a sensitive stage of negotiations to end its nuclear programme in exchange for security guarantees and aid, leading some diplomats to cast doubt on the likelihood that Kim would cross America’s “red line” forbidding the proliferation of nuclear materials.

    Christopher Hill, the State Department official representing America in the talks, said on Friday he could not confirm “intelligence-type things”, but the reports underscored the need “to make sure the North Koreans get out of the nuclear business”.

    By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.

    As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.

    This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.
     
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Messages:
    13,090
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Platonic Sphere
    way to go Israel !
     
  3. Konigstiger205

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    student
    Location:
    Bucharest
    I agree with Erich...go Israel! :D
     
  4. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,672
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Video and multi-media communications expert
    Location:
    FL
    stunning.... has the BBC or CNN reported on this?
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    When did this happen?
     
  6. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,672
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Video and multi-media communications expert
    Location:
    FL
    I'm not sure i believe it
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    Same here, it is not on any of the news channels.
     
  8. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Messages:
    19,419
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Network Engineer/Photographer
    Location:
    Moorpark, CA
    Home Page:
    Good! Maybe some of the other folks over there will now understand that Israel isn't messing around.
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    It happened last week.

    Remember the Syrians complaining about an Israeli flyover of Syrian territory?

    They really didnt want to push the issue for obvious reasons.

    I also seem to remember a couple of weeks ago, N Korea came clean about its nuke project and wanting better relations with the US..... and this happens. I wonder if they tipped us off what was over there......(Pure conjecture on my part).
     
  10. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,720
    Likes Received:
    517
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
    Go Israel! If only the rest of the West had the same attitude we could deal with the "Axis of Evil" so much more effectively.
     
  11. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Messages:
    3,561
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    USMC - Capt - 7532
    Location:
    Jacksonville, NC
    That's the truth. There's too many westerners calculating how to best hug these certain hostile nations.
     
  12. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I only heard of the overflights...heard nothing of military action.

    The Syrians have some of the latest Chinese and Russian air defence systems but the Isrealis have shown they can attack at will.

    Bad news for Syria. I don't expect the Syrians to do much. It is said that Irans air defence is weaker than Syrias so any western attack on Iran should be no prob...if this exmple is to go by.
     
  13. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    4,441
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    MGR
    Location:
    Phila, Pa
    I dunno. Like to see more info in general. Somehow, this is all just too quiet.
     
  14. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,672
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Video and multi-media communications expert
    Location:
    FL
    yeahhh..

    cant believe everything you read.
     
  15. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Messages:
    2,240
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Manager
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    I wish USA people would also start thinking that way. Stop all this PC crap and crush Iran via air strikes and cruise missiles. We don't have to send in troops to hurt Iran.................lets just do 3 weeks of air strikes 24 hours a day. :lol:
     
  16. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    I have to agree with you. Something like this would leak out into the news.
     
  17. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    4,441
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    MGR
    Location:
    Phila, Pa
    Exactly. Plus, blowing up irradiated materials would send every sensor in the Middle East off the scale.

    Nah, not buying it.

    Yet.
     
  18. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,672
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Video and multi-media communications expert
    Location:
    FL
    North Korean scientists in Syria alone should make news.
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Doesnt need to be radioactive. Could be bomb making material.
     
  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    World Tribune — U.S. confirms Syria-N. Korea nuke link

    Monday, September 17, 2007
    U.S. confirms Syria-N. Korea nuke link

    WASHINGTON — The United States has determined that Syria has been seeking nuclear weapons from North Korea.

    "We do know that there are a number of foreign technicians that have been in Syria," Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Semmel said. "We do know that there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment. Whether anything transpired remains to be seen."
    One North Korean-flagged ship, Al Hamad, arrived in the Syrian port of Tartous on Sept. 3. Three days later, the Israel Air Force attacked an unspecified target in northeastern Syria along the Euphrates River near the border with Turkey.

    Semmel, responsible for nuclear non-proliferation at the State Department, said Syria has been placed on the U.S. nuclear watch list. In a briefing in Rome, Semmel said Damascus was suspected of contacting a range of nuclear suppliers.
    Officials said North Korea has provided nuclear material and guidance to Syria. They said Pyongyang has helped establish underground facilities that could be used to produce weapons-grade uranium for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    "There are indicators that they do have something going on there," Semmel, who did not rule out the involvement of the so-called nuclear smuggling network once led by Abdul Qadeer Khan, said on Sept. 13.

    Officials said North Korean ships arrived in Syria in mid-2007 with cargo suspected to have included weapons of mass destruction components. They said both Israel and the United States have been tracking these shipments, which in some cases were registered as cement.

    [On Sunday, Iran said Russia was ready to ship enriched uranium fuel for the Bushehr nuclear energy reactor. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the nuclear fuel for Bushehr was inspected and sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.]

    "There are North Korean people there," Semmel said. "There's no question about that. Just as there are a lot of North Koreans in Iraq and Iran."

    Israel has not denied an air force operation in Syria. But officials have refused to provide any details.

    For its part, Syria has insisted that Israeli fighter-jets did not stage an attack. On Monday, Syrian sources told the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat daily that the Israeli operation was meant to test Syrian air defense systems.

    But Western intelligence sources said the Israeli strike, termed Operation Orchard, consisted of eight aircraft, at least two of them F-15I fighter-jets, four F-16Is and a G-550 electronic intelligence aircraft. They said the operation was coordinated with the United States.

    "We are watching very closely," Semmel, who did not confirm U.S. involvement, said. "Obviously, the Israelis were watching very closely."

    The State Department confirmed Semmel's remarks, but refused to comment. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States was watching North Korea and Syria "very carefully."

    "If such an activity were taking place, it would be a matter of great concern because the president has put down a very strong marker with the North Koreans about further proliferation efforts and obviously any effort by the Syrians to pursue weapons of mass destruction would be a concern," Gates said in a television interview. "I think it would be a real problem."

    Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said Syria has long sought nuclear and other WMD capabilities. Bolton said Syria might have agreed to provide uranium enrichment facilities to Iran and North Korea, both of whom have been under international pressure to end their nuclear weapons programs. On Monday, North Korea delayed talks scheduled for Sept. 19 for an end to the nation's nuclear weapons program.

    "Syria is very aggressive in pursuing WMD capability," Bolton told the Israeli daily, Jerusalem Post. "It's a diversion game — to carry on even when you are supposed to have halted, as in the case of North Korea. And I'd be surprised if Syria would do anything with North Korea without Iranian acquiescence."
     
Loading...

Share This Page