April 6, 2008

US, Israel, Syria, Korea and (maybe) Loose Nukes

Is it sloppy journalism that the date of the attack doesn’t appear in the article, or a deliberate attempt to distance our “loose nukes” (Aug, 29) episode with the Sept. 8 event in Syria? The Israelis sure are worried about releasing details, despite some thinking it would “enhance” the Israeli government’s image as powerful and in control of things. But their power comes at our cost. Read on, citizens, courtesy of Haaretz...
Israel, U.S. plan to release details on Syria attack
By Barak Ravid and Amos Harel
Israel and the United States are coordinating the release of details on the air force strike in Syria last September, which foreign reports claim targeted a nuclear installation Syria was constructing with North Korean assistance. American officials may reveal details of the strike later this month during congressional hearings.

Even though the defense establishment in Israel is opposed to any publication of details of the attack, the Prime Minister's Bureau and U.S. President George W. Bush's administration are of the opinion that it is now possible to reveal details because there is little chance of a conflagration as a result of a Syrian decision to avenge the attack.

[...] Intelligence analysts in Israel maintain that any further release of the details on the strike will contribute to the already tense situation between Syria and Israel, which has been exacerbated in part because of Hezbollah's plans to avenge the assassination of the group's terrorist mastermind, Imad Mughniyah.
Any official release of the details of the attack and the nature of the installation may push Syria's Bashar Assad into a corner and put pressure him to respond, say intelligence officials.
[...] The hearings at the House Intelligence Committee may be held in the coming weeks. Congressmen have included in the bill on the intelligence budget that American intelligence agencies will not be given large portions of their budget unless they reveal in full the details of the strike in Syria and the nuclear cooperation between Pyongyang and Damascus.
This has led U.S. and Israeli officials to conclude that American officials will release details of the strike during the hearings.
Talks between the U.S. and North Korea are schedule to resume tomorrow in Singapore. One of the American conditions for lifting the sanctions on Pyongyang is for it to expose its nuclear collaboration with other countries, which North Korea maintains does not exist. According to South Korean media sources, Pyongyang has agreed to provide the U.S. with information on its nuclear cooperation with Syria, on condition that Washington will not make this public. The same sources stated that the U.S. has given North Korea a list of engineers that are suspected of involvement in the construction of the installation that was targeted in Syria. [...]


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