Saturday, October 13, 2007

No Radioactive Kimchi:
Israel Blew Up a Syrian Reactor

Israeli jets destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor, back on on September 9, 2007. At least, that's what the New York Times and Yahoo! News says. The White House knew about Israeli plans, and apparently there was a divided opinion on whether September of 2007 was too early to blow up the reactor.

For starters, the reactor wasn't anywhere near ready to produce nuclear material. I can see the point of letting Syria and North Korea continue to pour resources into the reactor, then destroy in when it is a bigger loss.

The U.S. position, according to the Times, was that Israel had hit a missile facility or a nuclear facility that Syria was maintaining with North Korean help.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said that Israel blew up an "unused military building." That brings Syrian claims about what happened up to four:
  • An unused military building blew up.
  • The Jews destroyed an agricultural research station.
  • Israel dropped bombs on sand
  • There was no raid.
I'll give Syria points for diversity.

However, I'm inclined to go with the Washington version on the reactor.

Israel's blown up a nuclear reactor before, in 1981. That time it was an Iraqi reactor, run by Saddam Hussein's rule.

In each case, I think Israel had the right idea. Hussein's Iraq was was unlikely to let nuclear weapons go unused, and could have earned a great deal of 'street cred' in the Middle East by obliterating at least part of Israel. Syria was in the same position. Israel can't afford to rely on endless rounds of diplomacy, and on the presumed good will of other nations in the region.

American officials, from the huge "Anonymous" family, said that September's strike might have been a signal to Iran, showing Israel's resolve. Maybe, but I think Israel may have been protecting itself from Syria, too.

Tomorrow, I expect politicos to provide a sort of grim comic relief, with more-or-less nonsensical pronouncements about how badly the administration handled the matter, how much better they would have done, and so forth.

Even at this late date, I think it's possible that someone with a recognizable name will say that the Israeli raid was a terrible mistake, and a threat to the delicate Mid East peace process.

I've posted on the Israeli raid before:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.