Wednesday, September 12, 2007

American Sources

The New York Times is citing sources from Washington telling two different stories about Israel's attack on Syria. The one getting the most attention is the North Korea theory:
"One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea. The administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria.

"'The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,' the official said. He said it was unclear whether the Israeli strike had produced any evidence that might validate that belief.

"The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a military action by another government."

Looking just at this, I'd say the source is fighting the internal administration battle over the North Korea deal. The idea that Syria would be developing nuclear weapons seems a bit over the top. At this point I still prefer the Hizbullah theory:
"Officials in Washington said that the most likely targets of the raid were weapons caches that Israel’s government believes Iran has been sending the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah through Syria. Iran and Syria are Hezbollah’s primary benefactors, and American intelligence officials say a steady flow of munitions from Iran runs through Syria and into Lebanon."

This theory has multiple sources who say it's "most likely," whereas the North Korea idea goes to a single official who claims certainty, which is an interesting difference.

Joshua Landis, who has a source pointing him to North Korea, also shows the potential for combining the two ideas:
"(Ronin Broughman sp. ?), editor of Israel's Yediot Acharonot, indidcated that the strike was against chemical weapons and missile production in the north of Syria - Scud C and B. Nuclear weapons are not a Syrian concern because they have chemical weapons with which to respond to Israel. Even though they have received ready made scuds from Korea, Syria has begun production of its own with the help of Iran."

There's definitely something going on, as I've been told that the military censors here in Israel are really on full alert for the next two weeks. The Israelis, however, aren't the only ones who are silent:
"The firm order to keep everyone’s mouth shut on this even after it took place seems to have come from the US to its allies in the region. The synchronized silence by Saudi, Jordan, the gulf and Egypt and the fact that they did not utter a word of condemnation, solidarity, regret or even concern is indicative, but the most alerting issue here is the absolute silence of Saudi financed media in the region (ie. the majority of the Arab media). Take for example, Alarabiya, Al-Sharq Alawsat and even Future TV. Usually, these media outlets are the first to jump on any incident related to Syria and spin it in a way that Syria appears the guilty side. When it comes to incidents relates to Syria and Israel, these outlets tend to host an influx of analysts and talk shows gloating on how Syria is week and too close to Iran. This time, not a word!

"Given the coordinated Israeli-American-Saudi media black out, I’m reading this as a joint attempt to hide something that can be perceived by the Arab public as a failure on the US and moderate Arab side and might strengthen the Syrian (or Iranian) image. It can also be something that can cause an embarrassment to Arab 'moderates'."

(Crossposted to American Footprints)

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