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  • The outing of Syria or crying wolf

    In September 2007, the Israeli air force destroyed a target deep inside Syria. The details of the target were not disclosed, and the United States denied any involvement or advance knowledge of the attack. In the weeks after the attack, Israel hinted at Syrian nuclear ambitions. There was also mention of North Korean involvement, but no specific details were ever made available.

    Yesterday some of the details were presented to members of congress, many of which have been made available to the public, including a video presentation of key points and supporting evidence. As a result, the IAEA has announced plans for an immediate investigation, criticizing the US and Israel for their complete failure to notify the agency and the destruction of the evidence in the air strike.

    The evidence was aimed at making the case that Syria was in the final phases of construction of a nuclear reactor, and that they received technical asstiance from North Korea in this endeavor. The reactor (or whatever it was) was completely destroyed in the bombing, and has since been buried by Syria. Is this the outing of Syria's nuclear ambitions, or is the U.S. crying wolf again?

    To me, this raises a myriad of questions.

    Unilateral accusations and attacks on soverign nations is not a lighthearted affair. Mistakes here can start wars. Why is this playing out the way it is?

    The Syrian facility may have been on the verge of going operational, but it would have been at least 18 months before it would have produced any usable product. Why not call them on it in 2007 as opposed to emplyoing a completely illegal and unprovoked air strike on one of the few Arab countries that they actually have diplomatic relations with, albeit on a private channel? Further, the record seems to show that although the U.S. did have advance knowledge of the attack (which catches Bush's administration in yet another lie), they claim to have not given Israel the 'green light.' Israel acted alone in this - a bold move, even for Israel.

    The evidence does seem to indicate that the U.S. had no intelligence on this site prior to the summer of 2007. This location is closer to Iraq than any other border. Was this site really unknown? If it wasn't, that is one more piece of evidence that the US intelligence community is still badly broken.

    Given the situation with North Korea and that the Bush administration's efforts appear to have brought them closer to the negotiation table, what effect will this incriminating evidence have on any diplomatic progress?

    Is this an indicator that the U.S. is fighting the wrong war or the right war in Iraq, whose second largest border is with Syria? The U.S. has diplomatic ties with Syria, which is why it did not give Israel a green light for the attack in 2007. Will those ties now be in jeapardy?

    In my opinion, the Israeli strike was the wrong move, especially now that there are more details available. The airstrike destroyed any hopes of 'outing' the project for what it was. The U.S. didn't support it, but didn't appear to oppose it either. That may have also been the wrong move. What is the purpose of the IAEA if they aren't even given a chance to do their job? Syria is no angel, but how can they be expected to participate in diplomacy if the U.S. and Israel can get away with pre-emptive attacks on their territory? That would never be tolerated the other way around. This is not the path to progress, and hints of cowardice on behalf of the U.S. and Israel.

  • #2
    Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

    What good would the 'outing' have done? Iran has been outed for quite some time, and nothing is being done there. N. Korea was outed and nothing substantial happened there.

    What would be better? An outed nuclear program, or a destroyed nuclear program? I vote for the latter.

    3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

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    • #3
      Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

      CNN's Amanpour says that the current revelations may be more about White House hardliners ramping up diplomatic weight against North Korea than dealing with the specific issue of Syria's ambitions. The timing of the release would suggest a focus on NK, but they must have realized that the public release of the open secret of the bombing would have an effect on current Middle Eastern morass as well. Unless this is another case of multiple US govt elements fighting each other over foreign policy ideology and muddying the waters in the process.
      In game handle: Steel Scion
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      • #4
        Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

        Originally posted by AMosely View Post
        That would never be tolerated the other way around.
        *snickers quietly*

        Of course, the international community would never tolerate unprovoked attacks on Israeli territory.

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        • #5
          Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

          Originally posted by Tempus View Post
          What good would the 'outing' have done? Iran has been outed for quite some time, and nothing is being done there. N. Korea was outed and nothing substantial happened there.

          What would be better? An outed nuclear program, or a destroyed nuclear program? I vote for the latter.
          Except that it's not up to you - there is no vote. It's not up to Syria what Israel does (and Israel does have a nuclear program), so why should it be up to Israel or the U.S. what Syria does?

          Syria is claiming innocence, and it would be an easy bet that every Arab nation will support that claim, adding it to the growing arsenal of Western injustices. Letting them answer to accusations and prove their innocence (which, by the looks of the intelligence would have been difficult) would have put the pressure on them instead of Israel and now the U.S.

          Steeler's point is a good one, but I agree with the latter more than the former. The citing of North Korean involvement is a clear attempt by the U.S. to 'out' North Korea - a leveraged attack. We'll see if it achieves anything.

          So much for Bush's middle east peace plan - though I think we all (Bush included) knew it never stood a chance.

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          • #6
            Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

            Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
            *snickers quietly*

            Of course, the international community would never tolerate unprovoked attacks on Israeli territory.
            Not by sovereign states, no.
            I can ADS using more than a 2x without significant stutter! This was a good patch.

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            • #7
              Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

              There are air-strikes all the time all over the world done in semi-secrecy. Even during peacetime. Heck, even Democrats favorite president, Bill Clinton, ordered air-strikes during his time and he never caught much flack for it. I even applauded him for it. He made a good move IMO. How come when GW does something unilaterally, he has heck to pay from the media, but when Billy did it, it was all cool?

              This from 1998:
              http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stori...s/clinton.html
              "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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              • #8
                Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
                There are air-strikes all the time all over the world done in semi-secrecy. Even during peacetime. Heck, even Democrats favorite president, Bill Clinton, ordered air-strikes during his time and he never caught much flack for it. I even applauded him for it. He made a good move IMO. How come when GW does something unilaterally, he has heck to pay from the media, but when Billy did it, it was all cool?

                This from 1998:
                http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stori...s/clinton.html
                As far as I can tell the U.S. hasn't done anything unilaterally in this case. Though it does appear that they selectively chose the timing for presenting intelligence, there is nothing unusual or unjust about doing that.

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                • #9
                  Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                  I think you've missed most of the key points about the bombing in your rush to find a way to work in the word "cowardice" at the end of your post.

                  You link to an article that claims Israel never asked for a green light from the US, then you make unsubstantiated claims about why the US didn't give the green light. You talk about violations of law and sovereign territory, but you don't ask why Syria didn't ask for sanctions.

                  Instead of looking for a way to disparage the United States and Israel, why don't you try looking at it from an objective point of view?

                  First, diplomatically: The relationship you cite between the US and Syria was not substantially harmed, because the US was not involved in the attack. If Syria wanted to make a big deal about the attack it could have; however,

                  Syria chose not to lodge formal complaints against Israel, and remained fairly silent on the whole ordeal. Why? Syria also has diplomatic ties to think about. Rather than face being the next Iran or North Korea, faced with sanctions and talks (and stern letters of reprimand that would stay on their transcript for years), as long as Israel remained silent and the US didn't bring out the megaphone, Syria got away with what was very likely a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with minimal consequences and an unspoken admonition to not do it again.

                  So for those keeping track: the reactor is destroyed, the US and Syria get to keep their relations instead of having to argue about Security Council resolutions and years of IAEA hand-wringing. Syria avoids being punished with sanctions, and gets to basically save face in the Mideast instead of having to capitulate to inspections or worse. Israel gets a few days bad press because they violated the airspace of a country that gives safe harbor to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah.

                  If anything, this is basically a gift by the US to Syria, and I'm sure Syria was a LOT happier to lose a reactor and not have to deal with sanctions and more UN involvement, as well as any potential harm Syria's relations with the other 188 signatories to the NNPT.

                  Now, that's just the obvious part. What's far more interesting to me, and therefore what was far more interesting to Iran, is the fact that Israel penetrated Syrian airspace, deep, and managed to make themselves known only when the reactor blew.

                  Militarily, that made the whole Iranian air defense community throw up in their mouths. Syria and Iran have spent billions on Russian surface-to-air missile systems, the "latest technology" stuff that was supposed to make both countries formidably more protected.

                  The route the Israelis would have had to fly to get to the reactor was, just that summer, bragged about by the Syrians as having the densest concentration of surface to air missile systems and radars in the world. Syria may very well have believed the system was impenetrable.

                  And now what? The Israelis prove to them that after billions of dollars in expenditures, an Israeli fighter/bomber is capable of reaching any target in Iran without being seen.

                  The Iranians, who apparently funded much, if not all of the Syrian purchases, think the Russians played them by exaggerating the capability of the technology. Russian arms-dealing to unsavory governments takes a hit.

                  The Iranians know the Israelis can always reach them. Iranian operations against Israel, whether covert or overt, are scaled back in the face of this new information.

                  Syria knows the Israelis can always reach them. Any Syrians attempting to do covert business, whether it be trying to purchase nuclear weapons from North Korea, or providing material support for the terrorist organizations that love to do business on Syrian soil, now have to look at the sky and think twice about whether or not the actions they take are going to be worth the potential price.

                  Lastly, there is a humanitarian aspect to all this which I think might actually be most important in regards to the myriad questions you asked:

                  Had anyone called attention to the Syrian reactor, it is entirely possible that it would have derailed the current Six-Party talks with North Korea. North Korea is facing a food shortage crisis worse than ever before...even party loyalists in the upper levels of government are starting to see shortages of rations. Derailing the talks could leave the North Koreans in an untenable position where the only actions left to avoid complete collapse would be to actually sell already-prepared weapons, or to actually unleash its considerable military forces. Destabilizing the Korean peninsula and risking the spread or use of nuclear weapons, or even the use of the massive conventional forces in place, is definitely not a risk I think anyone should want the US to take.

                  So Syria loses a nuclear reactor, and diplomatic crises in the Mid-East and on the Korean Peninsula are completely avoided.

                  Cowardice? I'm gonna go with genius. This way saved the most lives, the most money, avoided war, and avoided any major break in diplomatic ties. It avoided bringing a nuclear arms race to the Arab world, avoided having the rest of the Arab nations having to worry about a nuclear Syria, or about Syria, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Hezbollah trying to bring a nuke to Israel and having the rest of them face the consequences.

                  Would the Security Council or the IAEA have been able to provide a more rapid, peaceful, and diplomatic solution? Signs point to no.

                  Winners: America, Israel, Syria, North Korea, pretty much everybody else. Losers: Guys selling illegal nuclear weapons technolgy unlucky enough to be in that reactor, Russian arms dealers who do false advertising.
                  ---
                  Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                    Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                    Had anyone called attention to the Syrian reactor, it is entirely possible that it would have derailed the current Six-Party talks with North Korea. North Korea is facing a food shortage crisis worse than ever before...even party loyalists in the upper levels of government are starting to see shortages of rations. Derailing the talks could leave the North Koreans in an untenable position where the only actions left to avoid complete collapse would be to actually sell already-prepared weapons, or to actually unleash its considerable military forces. Destabilizing the Korean peninsula and risking the spread or use of nuclear weapons, or even the use of the massive conventional forces in place, is definitely not a risk I think anyone should want the US to take.
                    Then why bring it up now? The release of this info regarding NK's involvement in the reactor does destabilize the six-party talks, doesn't it?
                    In game handle: Steel Scion
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                    • #11
                      Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                      Syria being un cooperative in the war on terror?

                      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4088746.stm

                      http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0726/p01s03-usju.html

                      Ironically, the Bush Administration is sending people to be tortured to the very same country that they are accusing of supporting terrorism.
                      |TG-9th| TheFatKidDeath
                      "Born to Party, Forced to Work."
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                      • #12
                        Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                        Originally posted by War.mongeR1 View Post
                        There are air-strikes all the time all over the world done in semi-secrecy. Even during peacetime. Heck, even Democrats favorite president, Bill Clinton, ordered air-strikes during his time and he never caught much flack for it.
                        Just a spelling interjection here. FLAK is Flugabwehrkanone = Flight Defense Canon. Not flack. The military has their own abbreviation language and flak is a german one. Just Fyi.

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                        • #13
                          Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                          Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                          Then why bring it up now? The release of this info regarding NK's involvement in the reactor does destabilize the six-party talks, doesn't it?
                          I think "why now" is an excellent question, but I'm not convinced I've seen a good answer. For all I know, Congress demanding information on an operation neither planned nor sanctioned by the US may be the only reason, but I'm sure there's more to it than that. No, I don't think it destabilizes the talks. 8 months is more than enough time for our esteemed colleagues in the international community to forgive any criminal actions not committed by an Israeli, and if North Korea began this project with Syria as many years ago as now seems likely, there's not much reason to stop the talks now. In fact it may be better timing...by waiting long enough to avoid the initial urges to apply crippling sanctions to a crippled nation, perhaps the current release of information instead provides some necessary incentive to the other concerned parties of the six-party talks to do more than what they've been doing?

                          North Korea had recently failed to meet the deadline set in the talks to declare the extent of its nuclear weapons programs, including how much material they had produced. However, just this week the US announced "productive" talks with North Korea about resolving that, and North Korea has agreed to make the declaration next month. Their nuclear envoy is headed to Washington tomorrow, and is scheduled to discuss (with the State Dept) the details of how the declaration will be made on Monday.
                          ---
                          Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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                          • #14
                            Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                            Originally posted by TheFatKidDeath View Post
                            Syria being un cooperative in the war on terror?

                            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4088746.stm

                            http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0726/p01s03-usju.html

                            Ironically, the Bush Administration is sending people to be tortured to the very same country that they are accusing of supporting terrorism.
                            Were you trying to start your own thread? Nothing you said or linked to seems on topic.
                            ---
                            Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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                            • #15
                              Re: The outing of Syria or crying wolf

                              Depending on the level of hardening of the Syrian facility, it may have made an easy target. The Iranians and North Koreans (rats that they are) have dug just a little deeper and poured a little bit more reinforced concrete.

                              The problem that the west and the US in particular faces is that it is almost a certainty that the US will be nuked and knocked down several pegs because of it. In step the Russian and Chineese to fill in the power and influence vacuum.

                              Now the problems for their lap dogs begin. As long as they stay nice little lap dogs the Russians and Chineese will be nice to them but when they get tired of living under the boot of yet another super power they will become problematic and the Russians or Chineese will not practice the same restraint that the US does today (brutal as it may seem).

                              Face it. For all the misery that the US inflicts on the middle east region, they do not stand on the throat of these countries and crush their skulls with the butt of an assault rifle (metaphorically speaking). China and Russia on the other hand will have no problem really laying waste to these countries (and any other that stand in their way).
                              LawnDart

                              The second mouse gets the cheese

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