Israeli Commandos Seized Nuclear Material in Syria, claims London Times

"If this story is true," a Syrian friend of mine just told me, "Asad should fire his top generals, instantly."
Snatched: Israeli commandos ‘nuclear’ raid

ISRAELI commandos from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit – almost certainly dressed in Syrian uniforms – made their way stealthily towards a secret military compound near Dayr az-Zawr in northern Syria. They were looking for proof that Syria and North Korea were collaborating on a nuclear programme.

Israel had been surveying the site for months, according to Washington and Israeli sources. President George W Bush was told during the summer that Israeli intelligence suggested North Korean personnel and nuclear-related material were at the Syrian site.

Israel was determined not to take any chances with its neighbour. Following the example set by its raid on an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak 1981, it drew up plans to bomb the Syrian compound.

But Washington was not satisfied. It demanded clear evidence of nuclear-related activities before giving the operation its blessing. The task of the commandos was to provide it.

Today the site near Dayr az-Zawr lies in ruins after it was pounded by Israeli F15Is on September 6. Before the Israelis issued the order to strike, the commandos had secretly seized samples of nuclear material and taken them back into Israel for examination by scientists, the sources say. A laboratory confirmed that the unspecified material was North Korean in origin. America approved an attack.

News of the secret ground raid is the latest piece of the jigsaw to emerge about the mysterious Israeli airstrike. Israel has imposed a news blackout, but has not disguised its satisfaction with the mission. The incident also reveals the extent of the cooperation between America and Israel over nuclear-related security issues in the Middle East. The attack on what Israeli defence sources now call the “North Korean project” appears to be part of a wider, secret war against the nonconventional weapons ambitions of Syria and North Korea which, along with Iran, appears to have been forging a new “axis of evil”.

The operation was personally directed by Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, who is said to have been largely preoccupied with it since taking up his post on June 18.

It was the ideal mission for Barak, Israel’s most decorated soldier and legendary former commander of the Sayeret Matkal, which shares the motto “Who Dares Wins” with Britain’s SAS and specialises in intelligence-gathering deep behind enemy lines.

President Bush refused to comment on the air attack last week, but warned North Korea that “the exportation of information and/or materials” could jeopard-ise plans to give North Korea food aid, fuel and diplomatic recognition in exchange for ending its nuclear programmes.

Diplomats in North Korea and China said they believed a number of North Koreans were killed in the raid, noting that ballistic missile technicians and military scientists had been working for some time with the Syrians.

A senior Syrian official, Sayeed Elias Daoud, director of the Syrian Arab Ba’ath party, flew to North Korea via Beijing last Thursday, reinforcing the belief among foreign diplomats that the two nations are coordinating their response to the Israeli strike.

The growing assumption that North Korea suffered direct casualties in the raid appears to be based largely on the regime’s unusually strident propaganda on an issue far from home. But there were also indications of conversations between Chinese and North Korean officials and intelligence reports reaching Asian governments that supported the same conclusion, diplomats said.

Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last week that dozens of Iranian engineers and Syrians were killed in July attempting to load a chemical warhead containing mustard gas onto a Scud missile. The Scuds and warheads are of North Korean design and possibly manufacture, and there are recent reports that North Koreans were helping the Syrians to attach airburst chemical weapons to warheads.

Yesterday, while Israelis were observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the military was on high alert after Syria promised to retaliate for the September 6 raid. An Israeli intelligence expert said: “Syria has retaliated in the past for much smaller humiliations, but they will choose the place, the time and the target.”

Critics of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, believe he has shown poor judgment since succeeding his father Hafez, Syria’s long-time dictator, in 2000. According to David Schenker, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, he has provoked the enmity of almost all Syria’s neighbours and turned his country into a “client” of Iran.

Barak’s return to government after making a fortune in private business was critical to the Israeli operation. Military experts believe it could not have taken place under Amir Peretz, the defence minister who was forced from the post after last year’s ill-fated war in Lebanon. “Barak gave Olmert the confidence needed for such a dangerous operation,” said one insider.

The unusual silence about the airstrikes amazed Israelis, who are used to talkative politicians. But it did not surprise the defence community. “Most Israeli special operations remain unknown,” said a defence source.

When Menachem Begin, then Israeli prime minister, broke the news of the 1981 Osirak raid, he was accused of trying to help his Likud party’s prospects in forthcoming elections.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads Likud today, faced similar criticism last week when he ignored the news blackout, revealed that he had backed the decision to strike and said he had congratulated Olmert. “I was a partner from the start,” he claimed.

But details of the raid are still tantalisingly incomplete. Some analysts in America are perplexed by photographs of a fuel tank said to have been dropped from an Israeli jet on its return journey over Turkey. It appears to be relatively undamaged. Could it have been planted to sow confusion about the route taken by the Israeli F-15I pilots?

More importantly, questions remain about the precise nature of the material seized and about Syria’s intentions. Was Syria hiding North Korean nuclear equipment while Pyongyang prepared for six-party talks aimed at securing an end to its nuclear weapons programme in return for security guarantees and aid? Did Syria want to arm its own Scuds with a nuclear device?

Or could the material have been destined for Iran as John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, has suggested? And just how deep is Syrian and North Korean nuclear cooperation anyway?

China abruptly postponed a session of the nuclear disarmament talks last week because it feared America might confront the North Koreans over their weapons deals with Syria, according to sources close to the Chinese foreign ministry. Negotiations have been rescheduled for this Thursday in Beijing after assurances were given that all sides wished them to be “constructive”.

Christopher Hill, the US State Department negotiator, is said to have persuaded the White House that the talks offered a realistic chance to accomplish a peace treaty formally ending the 1950-1953 Korean war, in which more than 50,000 Americans died. A peace deal of that magnitude would be a coup for Bush – but only if the North Koreans genuinely abandon their nuclear programmes.

The outlines of a long-term arms relationship between the North Koreans and the Syrians are now being reexamined by intelligence experts in several capitals. Diplomats in Pyongyang have said they believe reports that about a dozen Syrian technicians were killed in a massive explosion and railway crash in North Korea on April 22, 2004.

Teams of military personnel wearing protective suits were seen removing debris from the section of the train in which the Syrians were travelling, according to a report quoting military sources that appeared in a Japanese newspaper. Their bodies were flown home by a Syrian military cargo plane that was spotted shortly after the explosion at Pyongyang airport.

In December last year, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah quoted European intelligence sources in Brussels as saying that Syria was engaged in an advanced nuclear programme in its northeastern province.

Most diplomats and experts dismiss the idea that Syria could master the technical and industrial knowhow to make its own nuclear devices. The vital question is whether North Korea could have transferred some of its estimated 55 kilos of weapons-grade plutonium to Syria. Six to eight kilos are enough for one rudimentary bomb.

“If it is proved that Kim Jong-il sold fissile material to Syria in breach of every red line the Americans have drawn for him, what does that mean?” asked one official. The results of tests on whatever the Israelis may have seized from the Syrian site could therefore be of enormous significance.

The Israeli army has so far declined to comment on the attack. However, several days afterwards, at a gathering marking the Jewish new year, the commander-in-chief of the Israeli military shook hands with and congratulated his generals. The scene was broadcast on Israeli television. After the fiasco in Lebanon last year, it was regarded as a sign that “we’re back in business, guys”.

Comments (86)


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51. ehsani2 said:

Uzi Mahnaimi is an Israeli reporter who has been constantly attacked by that country’s far right establishment. He has been pushing the Israel-will-attack-Iran story for years. He also pushed the story of Israel working on an ethnic bomb, a far fetched tale that earned him a lot of enemies on Israel’s right.

Most commentators here do not seem to believe large parts of this Syrian story. This is understandable. Even if the reporter were to attach satellite imagery of the attack, most would likely question its authenticity.

We will never know the truth behind of what exactly took place. There is little doubt however that this is some sort of a turning point in the Israel-Syria chess game.

Those of us looking for a clear and indisputable smoking gun are likely to be dissappointed.

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:05 pm

 

52. Alex said:

But I have a lot of respect for some of the “Israeli media”. You don’t have to defend it in general.

I spoke with some in the Israeli media after they interviewed your generals and I made my own conclusions… nothing “good” or “bad”.

I just want you to keep in mind one thing: When the country’s national security is at stake, the media plays along.

If Channel 10 was “the delivery boy of bad news” during the war, it does not change the above fact. You see, when your leaders take you on what seems to be a successful mission (war, limited military mission, or even a media campaign targeted at your enemy) you would be unpatriotic to spoil things. I don’t think you will find many responsible journalists would not play along even if they knew some spicy stories… the country will hate them if they spoiled the effort in order to be the first to publish that exclusive story.

But when the mission is obviously a mistake or a failure, like your war on Lebanon or like the war in Iraq, the media at some point (when there is no doubt anymore) switches to criticizing the mission because they are convinced it is not in the country’s best interests to stick to that mission… when it looks like the only thing to protect by not criticizing is the politicians’ reputation, not the country’s national security.

So: Your media is better than our media : ) … but that still does not mean their publication of this story is proof that the story and its fantastic details are all true.

I suggested earlier that I think that it is possible that something was bombed, Syria was informed of the reason Israel had to do this, and that’s it. The nuclear part was added by those who found the story useful for keeping Syria busy before the Lebanese presidential elections this month.

This “raid” means different things to different people .. whenever you examine a complicated story, this is often the case.

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:17 pm

 
 

54. Cathy H. said:

Israeli Guy– Glad to see that you admit Debka is ahead of the curve on occasion. That shows open-mindedness. And you are right to be sceptical of their news as well. The key to gauging the weather is to note what is not happening between states that normally should happen, i.e. when the dog is (not) barking in the night. When usual patterns go awry, then Debka is worth consulting. If the reading on their sundial aligns with the shadows around it, then they likely have information worth heeding.

Speaking of what did not occur, recall that most of the states did not provide their usual reactions to the Sept. 6th incident for days (contrast with the near-immediate statements following the Lebanese assassination). It’s as if they were waiting for something else to occur. What was it?

Why is Syria still not allowing access to the presumed site of the strike? If the story about nuclear material being destroyed is a fabrication, the most direct course to prove the Anglo-Saxon press liars would be to allow international teams to access, assess and take measurements.

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:29 pm

 

55. Alex said:

Cathy

Syria’s version of the story was that nothing was bombed. Israeli jets simply unloaded their fuel tanks and bombs on top of nothing.

Apparently some military target was bombed. Maybe a research facility. Syria is always protective of its military bases … they won’t take journalists to take a close look at those areas.

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:39 pm

 

56. IsraeliGuy said:

********
“Why is Syria still not allowing access to the presumed site of the strike? If the story about nuclear material being destroyed is a fabrication, the most direct course to prove the Anglo-Saxon press liars would be to allow international teams to access, assess and take measurements.”
********

Cathy, I can only guess.

Maybe we’re in a middle of an int’l chess game where one party waits for the other’s mistake.

Just an example (that I’m totally inventing): let’s say Syria follows your advice and takes well known and credible reporters to…. the wrong place – and shows them that “nothing happened”.

They report what they saw or in fact, didn’t see.
A day later satellite photos or even much stronger and more convincing smoking gun shows up.

Can you imagine what will happen?

But again, this is just an example that I invented to demonstrate only one option.
I really don’t have any idea.

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:42 pm

 

57. Observer said:

The news this morning say that Ehud Barak himself flew the mission. Well, the plot thickens. This is like one of the latest George Clooney or James Bond movies; it goes like this. The US sent a team to Syria to spot and laser beam the Korean Syrian facility where the N Koreans are hiding their weapons while at the same time working with Iranians to develop chemical weapons, and the Israeli commando a week before walked in there, speaking Korean and goose stepping to steal the equipement, having had plastic surgery to slant their eyes and reduce their noses. Then Ehud Barak flies to the rescue of the Israeli Air Force after its ego was badly bruided in Lebanon and destroys the site leading to Syrian-Korean anger and the killing of Iranian experts. In response Syria is sending migrating birds with metal attached to their wingtips to simulate a flight of aircraft while at the same time asking the school children to fly kites to confuse the IAF in its scramble to respond to the Syrian birds. In this way, the operation has sent a message to the Syrians that WMD are a no no, to Iran that we can go in and out and bomb the heck out of you, to the Russians that your technology is worthless, and to the Israeli generals that we are back in business, and to the US not to worry we can be your strong man in the region. Now where in this scenario is the beautiful woman that Ehud rescues on his way home while blasting her captors to bits.

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:51 pm

 

58. abraham said:

Oh, Akbar Palace, spewer of obvious propaganda and delusional zionist rantings, you’re such a woefully tiresome hack.

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:57 pm

 

59. Alex said:

Observer, that was funny : )

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September 23rd, 2007, 5:57 pm

 

60. blowback said:

A day later satellite photos or even much stronger and more convincing smoking gun shows up.

Can you imagine what will happen?

Absolutely nothing that isn’t going to happen anyway. The Israelis and Americans will do whatever they want regardless of whether or not they have good cause.

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September 23rd, 2007, 6:18 pm

 

61. DW said:

This story stinks like 2-week old fish–from what i’ve heard the ‘Israeli intelligence’ has been held by Steve Hadley, neocon flunky, who hasn’t allowed US intelligence to vet it. I’ll believe in the ‘nuclear materials’ only after Mohamed Elbaradei inspects them and makes a report, and i’m not holding my breath for that.

Also, if the Syrians were really interested in nukes, notwithstanding the lack of a really plausible motive (I think Bashar is much more interested in self-preservation than getting into a nuclear exchange with Israel), why would they be dealing with the North Koreans, who are babes in the nuclear woods, when they could presumably get much more expertise from A.Q. Khan?

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September 23rd, 2007, 6:26 pm

 

62. Nur al-Cubicle said:

News of the World confirms the Times story.

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September 23rd, 2007, 6:40 pm

 

63. Akbar Palace said:

If I’m not mistaking, on the first or second day that I found this blog, I told Joshua, after he brought a quote from Debka, that he’ll better ignore this “source”.

Israeliguy,

Exactly. When this story broke the Peace Professor quoted Debka and said the story “stinks”.

Not that we’re getting specific information; it seems to be leaking out in drips and drabs in order to prolong the effect.

Meanwhile the forum chorus is forced to rely on foreign news sources because they can’t trust their own country’s media.

So when a “peace” professor exclaims:

Syria does not have the technology or economy to develop nuclear weapons., one must wonder if the University of Oklahoma is getting their money’s worth.

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September 23rd, 2007, 6:45 pm

 

64. Jamal said:

Thanks, Alex, that Australian blogger says it better than everyone here combined (including all the professional media and “experts” quoted ad nauseum).

Give him a full run, Dr Landis.

http://lataan.blogspot.com/2007/09/israel-cranks-up-rhetoric-for-final.html

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September 23rd, 2007, 7:00 pm

 

65. blowback said:

Nur – News of the World is part of Murdoch’s news empire just like the Sunday Times so they frequently share stories.

I am beginning to wonder is this is a psyop run by the Syrians to make the Israelis look stupid. Build a structure in a remote part of Syria, bring in a few North Koreans to look at it, order up a few container loads of NK cement, put about a few rumours and then sit back and wait for the Israelis to come calling. Maybe this explains why the Syrians are in no hurry to show the world’s press what the target was just yet. If the Israelis missed as the Syrians have claimed, it means that the Israelis might be back and this time they can’t claim they weren’t warned if the Syrians manage to shoot something down.

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September 23rd, 2007, 7:33 pm

 

66. Jamal said:

More on that Australian blogger. It seems he is an aeronautical engineer turned historian now with the American Studies department of the University of South Australia. And he’s 59.

Maybe he actually knows how to think about this ?

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September 23rd, 2007, 7:56 pm

 

67. Nur al-Cubicle said:

Dear Blowback…I was making an attempt at humor, because a typical headline for NOTW is “The Loch Ness Monster Lives!”

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September 23rd, 2007, 7:56 pm

 

68. Alex said:

Israeliguy,

I want my medal .. I read your 7 pages and wrote three or four pages of comments. At the Golan Heights Forum.

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September 23rd, 2007, 8:17 pm

 

69. IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, you deserve more than a medal and it’s on the way.

Thanks 😉

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September 23rd, 2007, 8:44 pm

 

70. SimoHurtta said:

Syria does not have the technology or economy to develop nuclear weapons., one must wonder if the University of Oklahoma is getting their money’s worth.

Akbar would the University of Oklahoma get more their money’s worth if some professor would say “Syria has the technology or economy to develop nuclear weapons” even he would not believe that. Well there are several countries which have universities and professors who do what they are commanded. Lucky that the University of Oklahoma and professor Landis are not part of your dream society – a Stalinist dictatorship (led by Zionists naturally).

You Zionists are astonishing with your ever increasing tendency to control and limit the freedom of western academic speech and research. One of the lowest points is when University of St. Thomas cancelled an appearance by Bishop Desmond Tutu because of unfair charges of “anti-semitism”. In the lack of believable counterarguments your group is not any more allowing discussion and research. Soon you probably will be burning books, rewriting history and reducing pictures from unwanted characters. Just like in …. guess where Akbar.

What is danger to Israel if Ahmadinejad makes a speech and answers questions at Columbia University? Certainly it is healthy for the Americans to hear his views of the situation, pro Israeli views have certainly enough airtime. Do you Akbar remember when you said in the past that a “story” has to be balanced and have the opinions of all sides.

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September 23rd, 2007, 9:39 pm

 

71. offended said:

Dozens of Syrian engineers killed in a train crash in N. Korea in 2004…

Dozens of Syrian and Iranian engineers killed in an accident in a Syrian-Iranian chemical development joint venture, where they were trying to stew some mustard…

Dozens of N. Korean engineers were killed in the Israeli commandos sweeping of the nuclear facility in Syria…

….

Those Axis of Evil / Rogue States are so stupid they can’t develop WMD without hurting themselves, maybe it would have been much more feasible for the mentally superior Israelis to let them go ahead with their evil plans without interference, so that if the pattern persisted for two more years, all the evil engineers would have been exterminated and no need to worry about a thing then..

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September 23rd, 2007, 9:41 pm

 

72. offended said:

Observer, I believe that your comment on the undercover American team and the laser beam used to guide the Israeli strike is inspired by the novel ‘mission compromised’, isn’t it

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September 23rd, 2007, 10:14 pm

 

73. Akbar Palace said:

Akbar would the University of Oklahoma get more their money’s worth if some professor would say “Syria has the technology or economy to develop nuclear weapons” even he would not believe that.

Considering what is coming out in American universities all over the US, it seems as though the prerequist for tenure is an anti-Israel slant, where Israel (not terrorism and their state sponsors) is the greatest threat to peace in the region.

Well there are several countries which have universities and professors who do what they are commanded.

Not here in the free United States. As evidenced, we let every kook his day in the sun. That is unless he/she is found to be untruthful or in error.

Lucky that the University of Oklahoma and professor Landis are not part of your dream society – a Stalinist dictatorship (led by Zionists naturally).

Yes, the only “free dictatorship” in the region. Name one Arab country that is freer.

You Zionists are astonishing with your ever increasing tendency to control and limit the freedom of western academic speech and research.

Zionists don’t limit freedom. Terrorists, Jihadists, and Syrian Baathists do, as evidence by their media.

One of the lowest points is when University of St. Thomas cancelled an appearance by Bishop Desmond Tutu because of unfair charges of “anti-semitism”.

Must be the long reach of the evil Zionists. (LOL) Everything is.

In the lack of believable counterarguments your group is not any more allowing discussion and research. Soon you probably will be burning books, rewriting history and reducing pictures from unwanted characters.

I’m not aware of Jews burning books, rewriting history. “Reducing pictures from unwanted characters; what does that mean? I think the madrassa you’re enrolled in should be commended.

What is danger to Israel if Ahmadinejad makes a speech and answers questions at Columbia University?

Israel, near as I tell, hasn’t objected. Only Americans are objecting. And I can understand this since the Iranian president funds jihadist to kill Americans in Iraq and has threatened Israel (an American ally).

BTW – Here’s proof of how free the US and her universities are (even though American’s would strongly disagree):

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/22/video-of-course-wed-invite-hitler-to-speak-says-columbia-dean/

inly it is healthy for the Americans to hear his views of the situation, pro Israeli views have certainly enough airtime.

Americans do not think it is healthy to hear an anti-semite. You may think so, Americans, unfortunately, do not concur with you.

Akbar remember when you said in the past that a “story” has to be balanced and have the opinions of all sides.

I never said there was a need to hear any story from an anti-semitic president from a theocracy that held American embassy workers hostage. And I still hold this opinion.

SimoHurtta,

One day, you’ll get off your anti-Israel kick and help your Arab brethren to enter the 21st century. This is a WIN/WIN for everyone.

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September 23rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

 

74. Asher said:

I would like to commend Mr. Landis on his blog. This thread has been excellent. Better than Forsythe or Le Carre.

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September 23rd, 2007, 11:53 pm

 

75. Akbar Palace said:

I would like to commend Mr. Landis on his blog.

Asher,

Just think, without Debka and Ha’aretz, there might not even be anything to talk discuss.

Meanwhile, another interesting news clip has emerged:

Vice President Dick Cheney had at one point considered [emphasis mine] asking Israel to launch limited missile strikes at an Iranian nuclear site to provoke a retaliation, Newsweek magazine reported on Sunday.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070923/pl_nm/usa_iran_cheney_dc_1;_ylt=AiM9SLgAQHJLPxfI5.r_MbwE1vAI

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September 24th, 2007, 12:45 am

 

76. norman said:

If Syria has nuclear material in violation of IAEA wouldn’t the US go to the security counsel and call for sanction?.

The oporation seems to be good for Israel and Syria , Israel felt better that it still has the edge and the abelity to move and attack It gave it’s army a moral bost , and Syria ( ASAD ) proved to the hardliners that want war with Israel that it will not be easy and that Syria should be carefull ,
I do not think that anything was destroyed but the oporation proved the need for peace and that is why Syria is wellcomed to the peace conference.

What do you all think?.

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September 24th, 2007, 2:27 am

 

77. norman said:

Rice Hopes Syria Will Attend Bush Mideast Peace Conference
Sunday, September 23, 2007

E-MAIL STORY PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
UNITED NATIONS — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed hope Sunday that key Arab nations, including Syria, will attend a Mideast peace conference this fall hosted by President Bush.

Rice said invitations haven’t been issued yet but “we would hope that the invitations would include the members of the Arab follow-up committee … charged by the Arab League with following up with the international community on an Arab Peace Initiative” to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The committee members are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. Only two, Egypt and Jordan, have peace deals with Israel and some, notably Syria and Saudi Arabia, remain technically at war with the Jewish state.

Rice told a news conference after a meeting of the Quartet of key international players promoting Mideast peace — the U.S., U.N., European Union and Russia — that there is an opportunity to move toward settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that “we should not miss.”

“I think that there is a sense of momentum in support of the Palestinians and the Israelis in their efforts to end the conflict,” she said.

Rice said that since it had been several years since the Israelis and Palestinians expressed interest in discussing the core issues at the root of the conflict, “it is very important that the regional players of the international community mobilize to support them.”

That’s why the United States is holding the conference this fall, she said, and why it hopes “that the members of the follow-up committee would hopefully be there.”

Rice stressed that “the road ahead is one that is very difficult.” But she add: “There is a lot of commitment and hopefully this time we’ll succeed.”

A senior U.N. official said that members of the Quartet as well as the Israelis and Palestinians will also be invited to the U.S. meeting.

Many Arab states have said they see no use for Bush’s conference unless it has clear goals and a realistic chance of meeting them. The U.S. official said Rice believed she could allay those fears in her talks with the Quartet and the Arab League members on Sunday.

Before the Quartet session, Rice held separate meetings with EU envoy Tony Blair, the former British foreign minister, and the foreign ministers from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Asked after his meeting with Rice whether Saudi Arabia would attend the conference, the Saudi, Prince Saud al-Faisal, was noncommittal.

The Palestinians want the conference to produce an outline for a peace deal; the Israelis want more vague declarations.

Rice was in the Middle East last week and plans to return to the region soon to continue the planning for the meeting.

Rice’s visit last week coincided with Israel’s decision to declare the Gaza Strip, which the radical Hamas movement seized in June, as “hostile territory.” That designation dealt a potential blow to efforts to bolster moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who now runs only the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Israel on Sunday approved the release of 90 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture to Abbas. Palestinian officials reacted with disappointment, calling for larger steps at a time when the power struggle with Hamas and peace process are at critical points.

The U.N. meeting will set the stage for separate talks Monday involving Bush, Abbas and Blair

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September 24th, 2007, 2:34 am

 

78. norman said:

It is time for Syria to go on the offence and defend itself before they ignite a civil war.

رداً على دور نظام دمشق المخابراتي في الاغتيالات وتفجير الأوضاع في لبنان وفلسطين والعراق

ضوء أخضر عربي للبدء في تفجير الأوضاع داخل سورية

لندن – كتب حميد غريافي:
بعد سلسلة طويلة من الاتصالات واللقاءات جرت خلال الاشهر الاربعة الماضية بين قياديين من الصف الثاني في بعض احزاب الرابع عشر من اذار وممثلين غير مدنيين عن بعض اطياف المعارضة السورية في اوروبا من جهة وبين اوساط امنية رفيعة المستوى في ثلاث دول عربية, بات الطريق مفتوحاً على ما يبدو ل¯ »الانتقال الى المرحلة العملية داخل سورية« التي تحدث عنها نائب الرئيس السوري السابق عبدالحليم خدام في البيان الذي تلاه الاسبوع الماضي في ختام مؤتمر »جبهة الخلاص« السورية في برلين.
وكشف ديبلوماسي عربي النقاب امس ل¯ »السياسة« عن ان اكثر من ستة اجتماعات عقدت في العواصم العربية الثلاث بدأت في مطلع يونيو الفائت وكان اخرها اجتماع عقد في الثاني من هذا الشهر, حضرها عن جانب قوى 14 آذار اللبنانية قادة عسكريون »ميليشياويون« تابعون لاربعة احزاب وتيارات على الاقل, وعن جانب المعارضة السورية ضباط سابقون في الجيش يرأسهم ضابط امني سوري سابق كبير, فيما حضرتها من تلك الدول الثلاث شخصيات امنية وعسكرية »لها امتدادات استخبارية داخل سورية« وقد توصلت هذه الاطراف الى »وضع ستراتيجية للبدء بعمليات عسكرية ضد رموز النظام في دمشق وقادته الامنيين وكبار قياداته العسكرية التابعين للحزب الحاكم والملطخة ايديهم بدماء السوريين واللبنانيين والعراقيين حسب الديبلوماسي العربي, وقد يكون مؤتمر جبهة الخلاص المعارض الأخير في المانيا بمنزلة انطلاقة لهذه الستراتيجية التي ستوضع فوراً موضع التنفيذ على الارض.
ونقل الديبلوماسي العربي ل¯ »السياسة« نقلاً عن مصدر رفيع المستوى في قيادة 14 آذار اللبنانية قوله »ان نقل المعركة من شوارع لبنان والعراق الى دمشق والمدن السورية الرئيسية والمناطق المشحونة بالكراهية لنظام بشار الاسد مثل المناطق الشرقية والشرقية – الشمالية من البلاد ذات الكثافة السكانية الكردية, ومدن وقرى في الجنوب ذات غالبية درزية, وفي حمص وحماة واللاذقية وطرطوس ان نقل المعركة اتخذ شكله النهائي بعدما وافقت المعارضة السورية اولاً على مباشرة مرحلة المقاومة المسلحة الداخلية, وبعد الحصول اخيرا بعد تردد استمر اكثر من سنتين, على الضوء الاخضر من عدد من الدول العربية التي باتت ترى في النظام السوري خطراً داهماً على انظمتها بعدما استسلم كلياً للنظام الايراني في طهران وحول نفسه حصان طروادة لمطامعه في العالم العربي التي تظهر جلياً في كل من العراق ولبنان وفلسطين«.
وذكر قيادي 14 آذار ان الاحزاب اللبنانية المعارضة لسورية والتي اكتوت بنيران حملات اغتيال قادتها ومؤيديها »استقدمت خلال الاربعين يوماً الماضية بعدما تأكد لها نجاح المفاوضات مع المعارضة السورية والدول العربية المعنية, عناصرها العسكرية المجربة المقيمة في اوروبا واستراليا وكندا والبرازيل والولايات المتحدة لتضمها الى مجموعات قتالية جديدة شكلتها اخيرا, بهدف ادخالها الاراضي السورية من مختلف حدودها مع الدول العربية ولبنان لتشكيلها خلايا امنية مدربة على التفجيرات والاغتيالات ومهاجمة المواقع الحكومية والامنية, جنباً الى جنب مع جماعات عسكرية وامنية سورية تابعة للمعارضة ابعدت عن مواقعها ومراكزها ومناصبها في الجيش والاستخبارات والامن القومي خلال السنوات العشر الاخيرة«.
ونسب الديبلوماسي العربي الى القيادي اللبناني الذي يزور أبوظبي منذ يونيو الماضي قوله ان المفاوضات التي جرت بين الاطراف المعارضة للنظام السوري من لبنانية وسورية توصلت الى وضع »جدول دقيق لمرحلة تنفيذ الستراتيجية الهادفة الى اطاحة نظام بشار الاسد« اهم بنوده!
– »تعاون امني بين اجهزة الدول العربية الثلاث وحلفائها داخل سورية مع خلايا المعارضة السورية وعناصر الاحزاب اللبنانية خصوصا في ما يتعلق بعمليات التسليح وتبادل المعلومات والمراقبات وتعقب المسؤولين والشخصيات الحزبية اصحاب القرارات الارهابية المتخذة لنشر الفوضى في لبنان والعراق وفلسطين وبعض الدول العربية الاخرى المعادية لسورية«.
– »تمويل المعركة الداخلية بواسطة افراد متمولين عرب«.
– »مسألة ادخال الاسلحة والمتفجرات الى سورية من مختلف حدودها ليست بمشكلة اذ ان كل الحدود التي يهرب منها النظام في دمشق اسلحته وارهابييه الى الخارج مفتوحة امام المعارضة بالاتجاه المعاكس اي باتجاه الاراضي السورية اضافة الى ان الاسلحة متوافرة على نطاق واسع للمعارضة السورية الداخلية حتى من قلب ألوية في الجيش غير موالية لحزب البعث الحاكم غير ان استخبارات وعملاء تلك الدول الثلاث المحليين يعملون بشكل حميم مع المجموعات اللبنانية والسورية المرسلة الى الداخل«.
– »بعد بدء العمليات المسلحة داخل دمشق والمدن السورية الاخرى تتكفل الدول العربية الثلاث بوضع كل وسائل اعلامها المقروءة والمرئية والمسموعة لدعم المعارضتين السورية واللبنانية«.
– »ترك تحديد موعد مباشرة العمليات الى قيادات المعارضة اللبنانية والسورية بعدما تكون باتت داخليا (في سورية) على اهبة الاستعداد«.
ونقل الديبلوماسي العربي عن احد قادة المعارضة السورية في دبي قوله ان »ممثلي المعارضتين اللبنانية والسورية داخل الاجتماعات مع مسؤولي الدول الثلاث الامنيين, رفضوا رفضا قاطعا مشاركة جماعات رفعت الاسد عم الرئيس السوري المعارض له والمقيم في اوروبا في الانتفاضة المقبلة وذلك باصرار من بعض قيادات المعارضة السورية في اوروبا وقوى 14 اذار اللبنانية.
وأماط القيادي اللبناني للديبلوماسي العربي اللثام ايضاً عن ان »اجهزة امنية لبنانية موالية لنظام ثورة الأرز ومعادية بشدة لنظام بشار الأسد, ستلعب دوراً مهماً في تفجير الاوضاع الامنية داخل سورية رداً على عمليات الاغتيال والتفجير والتخريب ضد قادة 14 اذار وضد الجيش اللبناني (مخيم نهر البارد), اذ استقدمت اكثر من 150 ضابطاً وعنصراً متقاعداً او مبعداً عن الجيش والاجهزة الامنية اللبنانية خلال عهد الوصاية السورية كانوا يشكلون عصب المقاومة اللبنانية المتواضعة ضد مواقع الاستخبارات السورية في بيروت وطرابلس وصيدا والبقاع, وخصوصاً بلدة شتورا التي كانت – قبل عنجر – مركز قيادة تلك الاستخبارات (غازي كنعان) وذلك لتشكيل خلايا مشتركة مع عناصر الاحزاب اللبنانية الميليشياوية والمعارضة السورية«.
وقال القيادي اللبناني ان »عدداً من ضباط الجيش اللبناني واستخباراته السابقين الذين كانوا فروا او هاجروا الى الخارج, عادوا اخيراً الى بيروت ليتسلموا مواقعهم الجديدة تمهيداً لبدء ستراتيجية لحملة العسكرية داخل سورية«.

طباعة | إغلاق

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September 24th, 2007, 2:47 am

 

79. SimoHurtta said:

SimoHurtta,

One day, you’ll get off your anti-Israel kick and help your Arab brethren to enter the 21st century. This is a WIN/WIN for everyone.

Muslim Arabs seem to have the year number 1428 AH and Jews have the year number 5768. We western Christians have 2007 in our Gregorian calendar.

As we can see from the news the Hebrew calendar’s numbers high numbers do not have any correlation with civilized behaviour. The Apartheid State is powerful and kicking in (their) 58th century. Let’s hope the there is no Apartheid in the Gregorian 58th century.

Seems that Israel is slowly learning how civilized people behave. Welcome to the Gregorian 21st century Akbar. JNF to tell court it will market land to non-Jews. It is however a little unclear to me how JNF managed to get hold of 2.6 million dunams (some 650,000 acres) of land in Israel (which constitutes 13 percent of all state lands). The history and especially the present role of JNF is interesting. The state sold land stolen form Arabs to JNF, so that Arabs could not get it back like UN resolution 194 demands. Strange behaviour on the 58th century, in’t it Akbar. Should Arabs and we Christians learn and create organizations like JNF?

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September 24th, 2007, 4:58 am

 

80. Joe M. said:

This story is the stupidest thing i have ever read in my life (except colin powell’s UN speech about Iraq’s WMD), and the “journalists” who published it are complete and total idiots. Anyone who thinks about it for 2 seconds would see how transparent this idiotic story is. Let me just point out some obvious problems with it:

1) Probably the stupidest thing about this story is that it says: “Before the Israelis issued the order to strike, the commandos had secretly seized samples of nuclear material and taken them back into Israel for examination by scientists, the sources say. A laboratory confirmed that the unspecified material was North Korean in origin.” Obviously, this means that there were at least two missions and probably more (if you believe it). One was the commando raid to get nuclear material out of the nuclear facility, and the other was a bombing raid to destroy the facility. This is totally insane. If nuclear material was stolen from a Syrian facility, don’t you think they would put the facility on high alert? And how long do you think it takes to analyze the material, how many weeks do you think went between stealing Syrian nuclear material and the bombing raid? You don’t think Syria would expect something if this story was true? It is insane.

2) this story expects us to believe that a group of Israel agents dressed up as Syrian soldiers (with full identification) and peacefully walked into a Syrian nuclear facility, went to the part of the facility that houses radioactive materials, took the proper safety precautions for handling such material, identified nuclear materials that were North Korean, packaged them away safely, simply walked out of the nuclear facility and got in come truck or something, drove to a pickup point and were whisked away to Israel, and then after it was analyzed a bunch of jets flew in and bombed a giant hole in the middle of the facility?

Just to show how impossible stealing radioactive material is, here is the American government’s regulation book for the safe transportation of nuclear materials:
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part071/
Needless to say, it is not an easy thing to do on it’s own, without regard for the ridiculous story to go with it….

3)The “journalists” themselves doesn’t even believe their own stupid story because the whole second half of it they are openly asking questions which show that they doubt the credibility of explanation they give. If you are confident in your reporting, you don’t write things like:
“Could it have been planted to sow confusion about the route taken by the Israeli F-15I pilots?”
or
“Was Syria hiding North Korean nuclear equipment while Pyongyang prepared for six-party talks aimed at securing an end to its nuclear weapons programme in return for security guarantees and aid? Did Syria want to arm its own Scuds with a nuclear device?”

It’s just a joke.

4) As someone pointed out above, these “journalists” fawn over Barak like he was flying the jets himself, which makes it obvious that the story was planted by the Israeli military. These amazing commando’s of Israel’s have such good intelligence that they didn’t even know that they kidnapped the wrong Hassan Nasrallah during the war last year, but they expect us to believe that they managed a James Bond raid on Syria’s most important nuclear facility? give me a break, it is insane. Israel has maintained a news blackout on this story on purpose to see how well they can manipulate the media when they need to do it, and this planted story is part of their effort to bullshit everyone so that it is easier to believe the worst when they do a bigger raid next time…. there is no doubt about that whatsoever.

5) they claim that the “America approved an attack” as though Israel takes it orders from the USA and they coordinated that directly. That is simply impossible. If that were true, Syria would have every right internationally to attack American forces who helped with this mission. As stupid as Bush is, he is not that stupid to do that.

Needless to say, this story stinks big time.

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September 24th, 2007, 5:43 am

 

81. abraham said:

OK, here’s my new theory.

Israel flew through Jordan and Iraq to swoop into the backside of Syria, something the Syrians probably never anticipated, or at least thought the possibility of such a move so remote that they didn’t expend any defensive resources there.

The Israeli raid was a test, not a bombing mission or anything of the sort. It was simply to guage how well their veil of secrecy over secret military cooperation with Jordan was holding up. Because I further speculate that Jordan has agreed to give Israel overflight rights for an Iranian bombing run, upon the insistence of the neocons/zionists acting out of the Vice President’s office. Cheney wants Israel to start the deed because they know that popular opinion as well as the majority of the military echelon in the U.S. don’t want an attack on Iran and won’t allow it. But if Israel starts the mayhem, the U.S. will be forced to jump in to “defend Israel”. (Read this for background.) This was just a practice run. They dropped the ordinance and fuel tanks to high-tale it back to safety right along the Turkish/Syrian border where it would be much easier to skirt the defenses of either nation as neither would want to accidentally fire into the other. Basically just enough to touch Turkey’s border but not annoy them greatly.

The added benefit of spinning it as a pre-emptive strike on some supposedly secret Syrian nuclear program was a neocon afterthought when they recognized the extra propaganda value they could extract out of the non-story, carried dutifully by our willfully compliant press.

The suggestion is made, the relentless barage of accusations, innuendo, and fabrications floods the national psyche, and the warnicators mark their calendars and then sit back and bide their time.

I have another, somewhat unrelated theory:

“Akbar Palace” is Alan Dershowitz. His knowledge about the Middle East, Arabs and Muslims is as bigoted and uninformed, and his reasoning and conclusions are as mendacious and contrived as those that Douchewitz spins.

Alan, don’t you have some professor’s life to be ruining by getting their tenure denied?

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September 24th, 2007, 6:36 am

 

82. Frank al Irlandi said:

Chaps

I commented yesterday hat none of the Western press had picked up anything resembling the noises that precede major announcements of naughtiness.

This morning our friends the Rusians at TASS published this.

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=11898345

I think they are talking about SAM and Anti Tank stuff heading for Lebanon and Gaza. But I also wonder if they are talking about somethings else

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September 24th, 2007, 6:43 am

 

83. Enlightened said:

Abraham said:

“I have another, somewhat unrelated theory:

“Akbar Palace” is Alan Dershowitz. His knowledge about the Middle East, Arabs and Muslims is as bigoted and uninformed, and his reasoning and conclusions are as mendacious and contrived as those that Douchewitz spins.

Alan, don’t you have some professor’s life to be ruining by getting their tenure denied? ”

LOL I fell out of my chair you are giving Akbar to much credence; I think Akbar is actually Ariel Sharon! (note sarcasm), but hel just think this is another arab conspiracy!

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September 24th, 2007, 6:50 am

 

84. idaf said:

“sick delusions”!
Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal denied on Monday a report in Britain’s Sunday Times that IDF special forces had collected material from a suspected Syrian nuclear site shortly before an alleged IAF strike there on September 6.

“These are sick delusions, intended to raise the morale of the IDF, which was defeated in Lebanon last year. They’re intended only to cause fear among the Arabs,” Bilal told Asharq alawsat.

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September 24th, 2007, 9:09 am

 

85. why-discuss said:

Uzi Mahnaimi and his misinformation
“Posted on September 24th, 2007 at 7:00 am by Meryl Yourish.

The stories about Israel hitting a Syrian/Korean nuclear facility have been coming fast and furious, and the most sensational are the ones in the London Times, penned by our old pal Uzi Mahnaimi. I would like to refresh your memory on some of the more spurious of his claims (the ethnic bomb that was supposed to target only Arab genes is the first and worst of his claims and, in fact, won me my title of “Master of Juvenile Scorn” during a blogwar several years ago).

There’s actually a very recent article by our man Mahnaimi that can be used to illustrate, well, how wrong he is. This is from June 17th:

ISRAEL’s new defence minister Ehud Barak is planning an attack on Gaza within weeks to crush the Hamas militants who have seized power there.

According to senior Israeli military sources, the plan calls for 20,000 troops to destroy much of Hamas’s military capability in days.

The raid would be triggered by Hamas rocket attacks against Israel or a resumption of suicide bombings.

Barak, who is expected to become defence minister tomorrow, has already demanded detailed plans to deploy two armoured divisions and an infantry division, accompanied by assault drones and F-16 jets, against Hamas.

And if that wasn’t breathless enough, there’s this conclusion:

A source close to Barak said that Israel could not tolerate an aggressive “Hamastan” on its border and an attack seemed unavoidable.

“The question is not if but how and when,” he said.”
More

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September 24th, 2007, 11:58 pm

 

86. Friend in America said:

Whatever you guys think of Mahnaimi’s news reporting, note that there are two other contributors. And note the Times of London has an editing staff that is extremely careful in its editing of news stories.

I cannot vouch for all in this report but some of the same facts were included in a New York Times article published about the same day. The N.Y.Times article could come only from planned disclosures by the State Department or an intelligence official with knowledge of the White House.

President Bush had been hounded all last week by reporters seeking a statement on the air strike. Releasing these facts to two selected newspapers will have the effect of taking the pressure off the President. Heretofore the only public response of the President was warnings to North Korea that international sales of its nuclear equipment was impermissible. This statement is so serious that hard evidence existed that the parts taken in the commando had been manufactured in North Korea.

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September 25th, 2007, 11:11 pm

 

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