News Round Up on Israeli Strike (13 Sept. 2007)

Al-Hayat explains the French Foreign Minister Kochner will NOT visit Damascus. (Sorry for the original mistake! Too much haste.)

باريس: زيارة كوشنير دمشق شروطها غير متوافرة

"Accusation of Nuclear Development are a new "bida'" or innovation." Completely untrue that Syria is cooperating with North Korea in a nuclear agreement, says Syrian Minister of information. "This is a "cover" for Israel.

وزير الإعلام السوري لـ«الشرق الأوسط»: لا تستعجلونا واتهامات المواد النووية بدعة جديدة

مسؤول أميركي: عمليات استطلاع جوي إسرائيلي لمواقع سورية مشتبهة

مسؤول أميركي: عمليات استطلاع جوي إسرائيلي لمواقع سورية مشتبهة

لندن: فاطمة العيساوي
وصف وزير الاعلام السوري محسن بلال اتهام مسؤولين اميركيين باستخدام أراضي سورية لتخزين معدات نووية كورية شمالية في إطار تعاون نووي بين البلدين بأنه «بدعة جديدة ومحاولة للتغطية على المأزق الاسرائيلي» بعد الغارة التي لا تزال تل أبيب تلتزم الصمت حولها رغم تأكيد «البنتاغون» وقوعها. وفي تصريحات عبر الهاتف من دمشق، اكتفى وزير الإعلام السوري، محسن بلال، ردا على استفسار «الشرق الأوسط» حول تكتم دمشق على موقع وأهداف الغارة الإسرائيلية بالقول «الأمور تأتي في أوانها المناسب… لِمَ تستعجلوننا؟» 

Jonathan Marcus, BBC, “Israel’s Syria ‘raid’ remains a mystery” MSK writes, "Everyone else should learn from Jonathan Marcus how to report on something without relying on rumors or spin-doctors."

b writes in the comment section:

Note how this “intelligence” was stovepiped.

The usual CIA analysts are “unaware” about it. From Israel to Bolton/Abrahms to Cheney/Hadley to the WaPo. We have seen that before.

How would one identify anything nuclear but a reactor encasing on an aerial picture? Impossible – and Syria is certainly not building a reactor (10-15 years, 1-2 billion).

This is “The Building of a Nuclear Syria Meme” written by Moon of Alabama – from RPS/Ghadry through Bolton/Abrams to Cheney/Hadley.

“Justification” for an Israeli attack on Syria.

Official Syrian Source: Our answer will be painful and Israel will pay dearly

Turkish intelligence assisted IDF in attack on Syria – report

Kuwaiti newspaper says Turkish intelligence provided Israel with information on targets Air Force allegedly attacked last week without Turkish government’s authorization

An Opposition Leader Sees a Way Out for Lebanon By MICHAEL SLACKMAN, NY Times

Lebanon’s speaker of Parliament on Wednesday pressed for agreement on his plan to restart negotiations between the Hezbollah-led opposition and the American-backed government.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb kindly supplied the following Notes:

Syrian FM's visit to Jeddah cancelled: Al Mustaqbal, Naharnet and other Lebanese dailies:

Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday that a scheduled visit by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem to the kingdom for apparent rapprochement talks has been cancelled. 

A Saudi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "the scheduled visit has been cancelled." He did not disclose further details.

The visit would have been the first by a Syrian official to Saudi Arabia since a public row between the two countries in mid-August.

Observers believe that using the word "cancelled" reflects extent of the deterioration in Saudi-Syrian relations.

An Arab diplomat familiar with Saudi thinking told Naharnet: "The Saudi official could have said the visit has been postponed, or even indefinitely postponed."

But by saying it has been cancelled the Saudi official "slammed the door in the face of Syrian rapprochement efforts. It is a way of expressing the kingdom's dismay," the diplomat said.


On its part, SANA said there was no scheduled Syrian visit to Saudi Arabia in the first place.


Syrian source denies US report on Israel targeting Hizbullah arms shipment

Manar TV: A Syrian source refuted the US report that Israeli warplanes targeted a weapon shipment intended for Hizbullah on Syrian territory last Thursday.

The source told Al-Manar that this is untrue, unfounded, ridiculous, and aims to mislead and draw attention away from the goals of this dangerous aggressive act. The Syrian source added that the details of the Israeli violation and the fact that the air defences forced the airplanes to drop their fuel tanks and ammunition confirms that these reports are not true.

Syria: ‘Wait for it’

Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations warned Wednesday Israel has yet to hear Damascus’ answer to the “act of hostility” committed by the Israeli Air Force last week.

"Our response has not yet come,” Bashar al-Jaafari told the BBC’s Arabic-language service.
He accused Israel of “seeking military escalation,” but stressed that Damascus was “exerting efforts so that we don’t fall into this trap.”

Syria's envoy the United Nations said Wednesday that Damascus was reserving the right to respond to the alleged air strike at the time and manner of its choosing.

"The Syrian response has not yet come," said Bashar al-Jaafari, in an interview with BBC Arabic.


Jaafari denied news reports that Israel had landed troops on the ground inside Syria.


A partial call-up of reserves is reported in Syria by Western sources in Lebanon


DEBKAfile: Those sources say Syria has mobilized armoured, missile, air crews and air defence units – partly in readiness for repeats of alleged Israeli incursions of Syrian airspace and partly in response to the partial call-up in Israel which began last Thursday, 6 September. The Syrian armed forces are on full alert.


DEBKAfile's sources report that the silent war of nerves, started after the first Syrian allegation that Israeli bombers had violated its airspace on Thursday, continues.


Jerusalem and Damascus are straining to hold back from an open clash, but voices are rising in the Syrian army urging President Bashar Assad to retaliate militarily to the purported Israeli infringement and come out of his passivity in the face of Israeli incursions. Assaf Shawqat, Syrian military intelligence chief and the president's brother-in-law, is the most insistent. According to Western sources, he has begun mobilizing his loyalists in the military officers' corps.


Israeli ministers and spokesmen are under strict orders not to utter a word about the episode.


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened the weekly cabinet session in Jerusalem Sunday, 9 September, with the remark: "It is not always possible to show one's cards." Journalists were kept away from the ministers.


DEBKAfile's sources doubt whether this silent poker game can be sustained either by Jerusalem or Damascus in the present state of suspense. Since the "no comments" stratagem serve Israel's interests most, Syria is likely to make the first move; its call-up of reserves may be a straw in the wind.

Comments (25)

G said:

Al-Hayat explains the French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran will visit Damascus. Agenda not given.

باريس: زيارة كوشنير دمشق شروطها غير متوافرة

Umm, Landis, what you wrote in English and what the Arabic link you provide says have nothing to do with each other. The Hayat report does not mention Cousseran and only talks about Kouchner and says that he will NOT be visiting Syria as the conditions for such a visit are non existing.

September 13th, 2007, 5:47 pm


IsraeliGuy said:

Joshua, I wouldn’t quote Debka on anything.

I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but this website and its “intelligence sources” are considered as a huge joke in Israel.

Lots of fairy tails, conspiracy theories, etc.

I’m not saying that the Syrians didn’t call up for their reserve units – just providing a general comment about Debka itself as a credible source for news.

September 13th, 2007, 7:14 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

Bolton/Abrams to Cheney/Hadley.
You mean, the “NigerGate Four” have cooked up another nukyoular frittata?

September 13th, 2007, 8:34 pm


abraham said:


What IsraeliGuy said.

September 13th, 2007, 8:47 pm


Cathy H. said:

Do not dismiss Debka, gentlemen. I found it quite useful during the Israeli-Lebanese conflict last year in providing information useful in evacuating several colleagues safely.

Sometimes they present speculation/disinformation as fact. Other times they reveal critical information 24-48 hours in advance of the general media. It’s a matter of applying discernment.

September 13th, 2007, 9:32 pm


IsraeliGuy said:

Cathy, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

September 13th, 2007, 10:01 pm


Cathy H. said:

Dekba is not a broken clock, but a sun dial; understanding the overall weather condition is essential before taking a reading. If you can not read the weather, agreed, it is not worth consulting.

September 13th, 2007, 10:30 pm


Metni said:

This raid by Israeli jets becomes more mysterious, not less, as each day passes. Thanks to Josh for keeping it fresh with insightful observations as well as narratives and analysis culled from eclectic sources. It has become like a suspenseful mini-series building to a climax. I’m sure more light will be shed in the coming days.

What isn’t so arcane, at least to this observer, is the following: Notwithstanding the immense curiosity and speculation as to the timing and true purpose of the incursion-attack deep inside Syria by IDF warplanes, what seems more palpable is the country’s air-defenses are badly in need of updating, especially with respect to early detection.

How did a hostile formation of warplanes enter a country, which is still technically in a state of war with its southern neighbor, from the sea and not encounter any type of antiaircraft fire until the noisy planes had virtually flown the entire three hundred or so mile width of the country?

This is not very complimentary to Syrian’s state of preparedness. If the drama was in reverse, how close to Israeli land would a Syrian mission of this type have gotten before being blown out of the sky?


September 13th, 2007, 10:33 pm


Emanuel said:

Noone has tried to contact friends who live in the Der az-Zor area? That would be the first thing I would try to do if I had someone there … Someone must have seen something or at least know where the attack (if it was an attack) occurred.

September 13th, 2007, 10:38 pm


idaf said:

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack indirectly denies media report
Answering a question on N. Korean nuclear proliferation to Syria, McCormack said that the department issued a statement on weapons proliferation activity by North Korea that “did not mention Syria”.

Is this the state department trying to halt another neo-con adventure based on non-existent WMDs?

I couldn’t find the actual transcript. Can someone dig it up?

September 13th, 2007, 10:58 pm


norman said:

This will sum up the insidence,


Murky Raid Heats Up Syria-Israel Tension

DAMASCUS, Syria, Sep. 13, 2007
(AP) Syria and Israel last turned their guns on each other in all-out war a quarter century ago, but tensions are sky high after a mysterious Israeli airstrike deep into Syrian territory last week.

America says the target was Iranian missiles, while others have raised questions of possible North Korean links. Israel, however, hasn’t even acknowledged anything happened, and Syria has said very little beyond announcing the incursion and complaining to the United Nations.

Still, neither side appears eager for an escalation. Israel put its troops on high alert along the Golan Heights frontier and Syria discreetly called up some air defense reservists, but the crisis has seemed more a war of nerves than preparation for hostilities.

“The picture is still foggy,” said Christopher Pang, head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Most information has come from outside: A U.S. official confirmed this week that Israeli warplanes had staged a strike. The official, who would not speak publicly, said the target was Iranian-made weapons stored in northeastern Syria and destined for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

The Washington Post reported Thursday, however, that Israel had gathered satellite imagery showing possible North Korean cooperation with Syria on a nuclear facility. It cited an unidentified former Israeli official as saying the airstrike was aimed at a site capable of making unconventional weapons.

Syrian’s U.N. envoy denied the country had weapons for Hezbollah. And its information minister, Mohsen Bilal, told the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Thursday that the accusations of North Korean nuclear help were a “new American spin to cover up” for Israel.

Other theories abound.

One possibility is the Israeli planes simply made an intelligence-gathering reconnaissance flight, said David Hartwell, Middle East and North Africa editor for Jane’s Country Risk.

Others speculate Israel’s military was testing Syrian air defenses or perhaps scouting an air corridor for a possible strike against Iran.

Either way, the incursion probably served at least one main purpose _ as a warning, experts said.

“In terms of deterrence, the effect was clear, by invading Syrian airspace, by showing that Israel is not only able, but willing, to still launch strikes against Syrian targets,” Pang said.

North Korea piqued interest when it condemned the Israeli air incursion.

The communist state has a long alliance with Syria, and Israeli experts say North Korea and Iran both have been major suppliers of missiles to Syria. But many experts, including Hartwell, said they found the idea of North Korean nuclear help to Syria unlikely, in part because Syria’s weak economy leaves it hard-pressed to afford nuclear technology.

Israel’s silence has been among the most curious things about the incident.

In the past, Israel often was swift to announce such operations, while Syria was slow to comment. This time, Israel has said nothing and Syria was the one to announce that its air space had been entered and that Israeli aircraft had “dropped munitions.”

Despite that, Syria didn’t ask the U.N. Security Council to meet over the incident or to condemn the act. It merely asked for its complaint to be circulated.

The location and timing of the strike also are puzzling.

Some experts think it unlikely that Syria would put sensitive projects in its northeast near the border with Turkey, which is friendly with Israel as well as with Syria. Syria’s main strategic military installations are believed to be in its central desert.

Others note Syria has long been thought to be a transit point for moving weapons to Hezbollah, with which Israel fought an inclusive war last year, and question why Israel would strike now.

“My assessment is that there is a very complex security picture that I think i potentially driving these events,” said Pang, but he added: “If I had to pin down to the most likely … to me the Hezbollah-Iranian connection seems the most plausible.”

Syria and Israel fought each other during both the 1967 and 1973 Mideast wars. Their last military confrontation was in neighboring Lebanon in 1982, when Israel’s air force shot down dozens of Syrian warplanes and Israeli forces destroyed Syrian tanks.

That history of conflict keeps the region jittery about the possibility of a new war, and Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mekdad, made clear Thursday that the latest faceoff has the potential for a new blowup.

“Syria will respond to any Israeli acts, now and in the future,” he said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback Terms of Service Privacy Statement

September 14th, 2007, 12:37 am


UZA said:

Not related to this post, but wondering if anyone else has heard this:

September 14th, 2007, 4:21 am


Bakri said:

Thanks UZA ,this evil plan must not pass.
Here is the complete article,it’s important to underline the importance of the northern part of the ommayad mosque,INTRA and EXTRA MUROS which was the richest part with al qaimariye ,here are located the most beautiful and oldest houses of damascus.The iranian mollahs with the help of hafez asad had already razed a part of these quarters in the 80’s and 90’s ,where they build the so called sayeda ruqaya shrine.

Old Damascus: A Plan to destroy Paradise
Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO more than thirty years ago, Damascus now faces a dangerous hour as construction projects set their sights on replacing the unique with the vulgar and debased


The city of Old Damascus is presently threatened by an obtuse and cynical plan that would destroy great chunks of it. The Syrian regime is trying to push through a “modernization” and “re-development” scheme, which would raze areas dating back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, including Syria’s second oldest mosque, Jami’ al-Tawba, of great beauty and historical significance. The company that aims to do this is a regime protégé. The boorish mayor of Damascus, Bishr Sabban, recently described the buildings to be razed as “garbage”, not heritage. Like most regime officials, he has been ordered to say (and may, to his shame, actually believe) that the ripping out of the world’s oldest city’s heart, to replace it with banal and vulgar multi-story hotels, tower blocks, American-style shopping malls and motorways, is a laudable thing.

As a Damascene, with a passionate love for this gem of a city, and with family links to two of the quarters that are presently threatened with demolition, I read this plan as indicative of all that has gone wrong with Syria. The regime’s desire to deface or obliterate major aspects of the Damascus past-which it may have little sympathy for, for complicated historical, political and social reasons-is reflective of the impulses of dictatorships everywhere, which deplore anything with patina, with complexity or depth, that harks back to a more sophisticated time than their own. Kitsch is their preferred vernacular.

Syria has been a dictatorship for forty years now. In that time, the country has seen a colossal brain drain of its educated elites and productive middle classes. A growing number of its people are living below the poverty line, as economic surveys sadly confirm. At the same time, there never was so much wealth in the country. It is concentrated, however, in the hands of people with strong links to the regime, some of whom are relatives of the President. These abuse their unchecked power to profiteer from monopolies, inflated commissions on government imports and construction projects, and appropriation of state land and assets. With sinister security services to act as their “business” enforcers, with a compromised judiciary and a corrupt bureaucracy, this new parasitical class has decimated private industry. By forging links to the readily-corruptible remnants of the old mercantile class, they have created a network of front men, middle men and yes-men, who help do their bidding, getting rich on the gravy train as well.

Anyone who challenges these sharks ends up in the regime’s dungeons. Riad Seif, a rigorous self-made industrialist turned parliamentarian, was imprisoned for four years on trumped-up charges, for his lone and highly-courageous denunciation in Parliament of brazen corruption at the top.

Ever since the Syrian army withdrew-under duress-from Lebanon two years ago, a huge source of illegal enrichment for the regime dried up. New sources needed to be found quickly. Construction projects-often in joint-ventures with Gulf money or Iranian money-are now in vogue, setting their sights on “tourist” areas all over the country.

The projects presently being planned for Old Damascus are an example of this trend, but they may have far graver implications than the already grave ones of destroying Mameluk and Ayyubid heritage sites, which belong to the world and to future generations. One part consists of a political and financial “joint-venture” with Iran, to clear an ancient residential area around the tomb of Ruqiyya, Ali’s granddaughter and the daughter of Hussein, to further expand the mosque there, to create a parking-lot, as well as an intrusive motorway for bus-loads of Iranian pilgrims to come directly from the airport to the site by car.

At present, one can reach the tomb only by foot, as one reaches everything in old Damascus-thank goodness-including the Umayyad Mosque itself. The area consists of charming warrens of alleyways, courtyard houses, khans and mosques. These are apparently being bought up by Iran, in order to go under the bulldozer. This would change the ethnicity of the place, which is Arab Sunni Muslim and Christian.

Syrians are beginning to be concerned that the “strategic relationship” with the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Assads-père and fils-have worked so tirelessly to promote, is beginning to denature their country. Syria, and Damascus in particular, is a mosaic of cultures, religions, sects and ethnicities, which have managed to muddle along, more or less reasonably, for centuries.

The populist militarism of present-day Iran, and its aggressive, born-again proselytizing-religion on the march-leaves the majority Sunni population cold. The regime needs to be made aware of this, if it is to avoid future tensions and tragedies.

Historical factors come into play, too, especially in the ancient and neglected quarters of Old Damascus. The original and now largely-impoverished Damascene residents grumble that the plan to change the area around Ruqiyya’s tomb is a belated revenge against Umayyad Damascus-Mu’awiya’s court city. Although this can hardly be the case, it shows that passions are running high, especially with the influx of close to a million Shi’a refugees from South Lebanon and Iraq, escaping war, into a city already struggling with poverty, escalating inflation and housing shortages.

The plans would destroy areas, which are living embodiments of Syria’s history. Souk Saruja (where my maternal family came from) used to be called “little Istanbul”, because that is where the city’s Ottoman-serving aristocracy had their houses. It was home to important judges and law-makers. Fawzi Ghazzi penned Syria’s first Constitution there-a far more enlightened document than anything to be had in today’s Arab world-which the ruling Ba’ath has since traduced and travestied.

Qaimariyya (home to my father’s family) was traditionally the quarter of the city’s scholars and theologians, being a small distance from both the Umayyad Mosque and the Zahiriyya library. It played a significant role in the fight against the French, organizing strikes, demonstrations and civil disobedience, hosting in its leafy courtyard houses the impassioned meetings of the Syrian movement for independence, and helping its members hide from or escape the wrath of the French army. Shukri al-Quwatli, the country’s first democratically elected President, was a son of the area, from neighboring Shaghur.

Al-Manakhliyya, which dates back to the eleventh century, takes its name from a souk for sieves in its midst, which has been trading as a market since Ayyubid times, and is a fascinating example of a traditional Islamic quarter, where work and worship go hand in hand.

Old Damascus was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO more than thirty years ago, and ranks alongside places such as Venice, Fez, and Cordoba as a vital example of layered civilization. A museum city, it has diverse and dazzling relics, buildings and artworks. The Aramaens, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Seljuks, Ayyubids, Mameluks, Franks, Ottomans and French all left their mark here. It continues to have a rare and poignant charm, despite the many indignities and aggressions it has suffered. The Mongol Hulegu destroyed its citadel and butchered many of its citizens. Tamurlaine sacked it.

The Abbasids desecrated its Bab al-Saghir cemetery, revenging themselves on the skeletons they unearthed and scattered. French colonialists burned its entire Western residential section to the ground, leaving thousands of women and children in homeless penury, in punishment for an uprising against their Mandatory presence.

Now the Syrian regime is gearing up to fail it bitterly too, if these foolhardy plans are not torn up at once. Indicative of little educated taste, no specialist expertise, historical or cultural sensitivity, and with an eye on profit and political expediency only, such plans would produce inappropriate monstrosities, replacing what is unique and timeless with what is merely debased. They would create even more pressure on an old city that is already choking from pollution and parched from lack of water, which has been unloved and uncared for far too long. Each street, each alleyway, each house, each courtyard needs thoughtful and tasteful preservation and repair-not demolition!

The Prophet Muhammad is believed to have chosen not to visit Damascus, as he said a man had no hope of entering Paradise twice. This tradition has particular resonance for me now, as the city he spoke of-my city-faces one of its hardest hours.

RANA KABBANI is a leading author and broadcaster.

September 14th, 2007, 5:04 am


Alex_N said:

On the Rana Kabbani article, it should be understood that there are frequently projects to redevelop traditional urban areas in the Middle East. Some are serious threats, and others alarms which don’t lead to anything. This article is heavy on the romance of old Damascus, and light on detail about the threatened project.

In this case the old city of Damascus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO World Heritage sites are subject to a very detailed and restrictive set of rules about what you are allowed to do. Not that I suppose that the Syrian government obeys those rules. However, if this is a serious threat, all that Rana Kabbani has to do is to make a formal complaint to UNESCO, setting out the case. At least that will embarrass the Syrian government, and probably deflect the project.

September 14th, 2007, 7:06 am


abraham said:

Ummm, why are you guys discussing a completely unrelated topic, and why did someone post an entire article that was sufficiently linked to in a previous post?

(shaking my head)

September 14th, 2007, 7:15 am


Enid Houston said:

I hate to put this crudely (since I love “black” people), but the issue of “cancellation” between “The Kingdom” and Syria is really the beginning of the fight between the “sand nigger Whahabbi’s of the Gulf” and the more enlightened Sunni’s of the North.

September 14th, 2007, 7:17 am


Innocent_Criminal said:

Wow, you love “black” people, really? I think that was cruder than the sand nigger term. And then there was the “more enlightened sunni’s of the north”” comment which is not only generalizing but completely off the mark since most would consider this a Shiaá/Alwai vs. Sunni stand off. Bu I don’t think this a religious or a sectarian conflict, it’s only put in this contest by certain so called leaders to herd the masses. This is conflict is based purely on political/strategic interests of concerned nations.

September 14th, 2007, 1:13 pm


Rev. Mike Nahas said:

I posted this one at the moonalabama too:

OK, here is my hunch (as no one really knows what went on, I guess my guess is as good as any other!):

Israel tries an Osirak operation in Syria’s Kurdistan (am I right geographically?). They are caught by new Russian radars. Syria check with Turkey if those are their planes, and Turkey responds they are not. Syria communicates with Israeli cabinet (does anyone really believe there are no chanels open?)saying they’ll bring they’re planes down. Israel responds that if they do that, there will be no peace talks, or peace at all, once Bush and the other Neo-Cons leaves the government. The pilots receive orders to drop their ammunition, and Israel asks Turkey to allow them to leave the Syrian airspace flyingover Turkey’s territory (which makes Turkey with the pro-Islam party now in power absolutely pissed off).

Everybody saves face, as long as everybody keeps silence on what really went on. The AIPAC owned media (pretty much every media outlet in the US, except perhaps the SD Times), starts doing what they do best (Syria is the incarnation of the Devil, Israel the escence of Goodness, bla, bla, bla). Bolton gets a new haircut, his job back at the AEI (Americans Empowering Israel), and everything goes on with their fund raising.

Shanah Tovah, everyone!
Nothing new on this new year… again!

Rev. Michel Nahas
United Church of Canada
Bedford, QC

September 14th, 2007, 3:17 pm


norman said:

U.S. fears Syria acquiring nuclear equipment

Associated Press

Email Get section feed
Print Subscribe NOW
Comments Recommend
ROME — A senior U.S. nuclear official said today that North Koreans were in Syria and that the government in Damascus may have had contacts with “secret suppliers” to obtain nuclear equipment.

Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not name the suppliers, but said there were North Koreans in Syria and that he could not exclude that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved.

Semmel was responding to questions about an Israeli airstrike in northern Syria last week. Neither side has explained what exactly happened, but a U.S. government official confirmed that Israeli warplanes were targeting weapons from Iran and destined for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Israel had gathered satellite imagery showing possible North Korean cooperation with Syria on a nuclear facility.

Semmel, who is in Italy for a meeting Saturday on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said Syria was certainly on the U.S. “watch list.”

“There are indicators that they do have something going on there,” he said. “We do know that there are a number of foreign technicians that have been in Syria. 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.”

“So good foreign policy, good national security policy, would suggest that we pay very close attention to that,” he said. “We’re watching very closely. Obviously, the Israelis were watching very closely.”

Asked if the suppliers could have been North Koreans, he said: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that. Just as there are a lot of North Koreans in Iraq and Iran.”

Asked if the so-called Khan network, which supplied nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, could have been involved, he said he “wouldn’t exclude” it.

September 14th, 2007, 3:56 pm


reader of newspapers from afar said:

“U.S. confirms presence of North Korean nuclear experts in Syria”

Some other points:
* A senior Israeli reporter hints the strike was not carried out by who you think it was. I don’t know what to make of this.,7340,L-3448884,00.html (Hebrew only)

* Israeli jets don’t need extra detachable fuel tanks to fly the route they flew.

* Communication in Lebanon was disrupted for 5 days around the strike. The source of disruptions was from the sea and satellites. ==> It is possible there was more than one strike or that ground forces had to get out.

And regarding Debka, like IsraeliGuy said, Debka is completely unreliable. They don’t have any sources or even any employees. It’s just an old couple in Ramat Gan fabricating stories. It used to be a funny joke. It’s becoming sad when so many people are not in on the joke.

September 14th, 2007, 5:37 pm


samir said:

Isn’t it plausible that Cheney and his cabal asked Israel to bomb a
location in Syria where he had “concrete” intelligence of Saddam’s hidden WMD’s? And I’ll bet anything that they didn’t fly in from the Med. Rather, I’ll bet anything that they went over Jordan (with the consent of the King), and then over Occupied Iraq (where they probably even re-fueled at an American base). They flew back over Turkey because they got caught immediately by Syrian air defenses, leading to the dropping of the fuel tank on Turkish territory in order to run as fast as possible (after all, I can’t see how you’d go back the way you came).

The talk about Turkish intelligence supporting the operation is just that – talk. It’s probably intended to freeze Turkey’s AKP warming to Syria over the last several years.

I mean does Israel really have the technology to avoid new Russian AA radar equip all the way from the west coast of Syria to its eastern-most border? Doubt it.

September 14th, 2007, 7:39 pm


Akbar Palace said:

The Good Reverend Opines:

The AIPAC owned media (pretty much every media outlet in the US, except perhaps the SD Times)…

AIPAC doesn’t own any media outlet. Ted Turner does. So does the other Reverend, Sung Yong Moon. I’m not sure what seminary taught you differently?

… starts doing what they do best (Syria is the incarnation of the Devil, Israel the escence of Goodness, bla, bla, bla).

Actually, CNN recently presented a news special called “Gods Warriors”. In their presentation, they equated the fanatics in all three faiths Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Although, IMHO, not all of these three religions have been taken over by militants.

Bolton gets a new haircut, his job back at the AEI (Americans Empowering Israel) and everything goes on with their fund raising.

John Bolton has been out of government for about a year. He has no power. Nor is AEI the only pro-Israel think tank. There are lots of them. In short, Americans are very pro-Israel, not just AIPAC and not just AEI. Now if Jews were found out to have toppled a couple of sky-scrapers or hijack a handful of commercial aircraft, that could change.

My advice to you, is to get a few of your al-Queda friends to force 12 Jews to conduct the same type of 9-11 operation your friends committed 6 years ago. Then, Americans would be very anti-Israel and very anti-Jewish and, voila, you’d have your long-sought-after wish!

Make sense??

Shanah Tovah, to you too Rev. Michel Nahas
United Church of Anti-Israelis
Bedford, QC

September 14th, 2007, 8:07 pm


Enlightened said:

Being enlightened I liked the sand nigger comment! I just thought in this day and age that stereo typing people gets us no where!

Just like some have stereo typed Akbar in the past as a Zionist peace loving individual! We can do with out that inherent racism Enid!

“This is conflict is based purely on political/strategic interests of concerned nations.” Innocent criminal summed it up best!

September 14th, 2007, 10:57 pm


abraham said:

No, Mr. Palace, your plan doesn’t make sense, because if Israel did attack the US, as it did in the USS Liberty incident, it’ll just be covered up.

As for the rest of your comments, I’ll read past the bullshit and just say this: Arabs have been here a lot longer than Israelis, and in the end, Arabs will remain where Israel once was for a very brief moment in history.

Remember this.

September 15th, 2007, 7:24 pm


Rev. Mike Nahas said:

Dear Mr Palace,

First of all thank ou for your usual rethoric, pretending that everyone who does not support Israel’s injustices and oppression is an anti-jewish person! Would that be the case of the Hassidim too?

And YES, Mr. Palace (who BTW as usual among yours is very, very coward to decline your real name!), AIPAC does own not only the media in General, but also Presidents, representatives (see Mr Moran’s retractation), and even the Evangelicals and their seminaries! But since you asked, I attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Philly, as well as the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

About Jewish hijacking and bombing buildings, does Hagannah, Irgun ou Stern ring a bell? How about the Summer war in Lebanon? Is the Protocols so fictional when they say that the death of one of us is worthy ten of the Goim? (or were hundred? doesn’t really make a difference, n’est pas?)

Concerning Americans being anti-Jewish, I lived inthe heart land (is North Dakota America enough for you?) I remember talking about 9/11, less than a year after the event, and nobody gave a damn! They were REALLY worried about the then imminent farm bill. Stop the propaganda, both from the midia as well as the religious “right” (who are actually Very, very wrong, in Christian terms) and we’ll see who give a damn about Israel outside the axis Washington-Philly-NYC (and LA, of course). What was the name of the ship that had to return full of Jewish refugees to Europe, because Americans wouldn’t allow them to disembark in the US, before WW2? Weren’t they Americans then?

So, go excercize your habitual deceit with someone else.

And BTW, I speak for myself: I don’t speak neither for the United Church of Canada (who I’m presently serving) nor for the United Church of Christ (US), a denomination which I’m am an ordained minister and member of!

But no, Mr Akbar, I am not anti-Jewish. I am anti-injustice, and for international legality and borders.

And Abraham is right: what have we heard on the American Peace Worker that was ran over by an IDF Buldozer in Gaza, about three or four years ago?

September 16th, 2007, 1:56 am


Neoprofit AI beylikdüzü escort