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Thursday, March 19, 2009
Google translation of Swiss article detailing Syrian nuclear facility destroyed by Israel

As Iran's nuclear arming of Syria has pushed
Syria, like Iran's nuclear armament pushed the Israeli action against the
reactor of al-Kibar
...
Long were the background to the Israeli air attack on the reactor in the
construction of al-Kibar in Syria in September 2007 is unclear. Since the
overflow a prominent Iranian military is certain that Tehran in conjunction
with North Korea behind the efforts made by Syria, in the possession of
nuclear weapons.
By Hans Rühle *
NZZ Online - The electronic publication from the publisher Neue Zürcher
Zeitung AG,
19. March 2009,
www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/international/wie_iran_syriens_nuklearbewaffnung_vorangetrieben_hat_1.2221863.html

In February 2007 the CIA succeeded in a spectacular coup. The security
adviser to the ex-Iranian President Khatami and longtime Deputy Defense
Minister General Ali Reza Askari switched sides and turned to the CIA. The
survey askaris brought a wealth of new information - including and
especially over the Iranian nuclear program. The biggest surprise, however,
was his statement that Iran finances a secret nuclear project by Syria and
North Korea. Nobody in the American secret scene had ever heard of them. And
the Israelis were immediately informed clueless. The latter was particularly
embarrassing, as Israel's government had always claimed that there was
nothing in Syria, what they do not know. And now this - a nearly
operational, North Korea built gas-graphite reactor, only the production of
plutonium for the manufacture of weapons could serve.

Even Russia has their fingers in it

Both the U.S. and the Israelis had assumed that Syria has no interest in
nuclear weapons have. While Syria was the beginning of the nineties from
China a small research reactor purchased, but the attempt to a more powerful
research reactor to obtain, failed. The pressure from the United States to
the potential supplier - China, Russia and Argentina - and the enormous
costs forced the Syrians to abandon their plans. Instead, focused leadership
under President Asad to their potential to develop chemical warfare agents.

Mentored by General Anatoly Kunzewitsch, the adviser of former President
Yeltsin for chemical weapons, it succeeded in Syria in the late nineties,
its extensive pool of Sarin by the production of VX gas to Israel for a
dangerous option to expand. An attempt by former Israeli prime ministers
Barak, President Putin to stop the activities of the Russian ex-general to
move failed. Only when Kunzewitsch 2002 for one to now unexplained plane
crash died, this episode ended Russian-Syrian cooperation. In the resulting
gap immediately jumped Iran that now the chemical weapons program, including
the means of care. Not least, it was the Syrian potential of around 100 old
Soviet missiles (SS-21, Scud B, C, D) to modernize.

The structure of a existential threat to Israel by Syria chemical option
dominated the Israeli threat analysis in the field of weapons of mass
destruction in its entirety. To think otherwise was not - because it is
beyond the idea of Syria's plans to equip with weapons of mass destruction
were. The Americans left turn with respect to Syria without restriction to
the Israeli findings.

Not a good figure in the secret

The fixation on the threat posed by chemical weapons and the specific
activities of the Mossad, which in many ways the Syrian program attempted to
obstruct. After recently made available from Israeli sources, however, had
been in the summer of 2000 for Syria a new era began. Bachar Asad, unlike
his father, the Iranians with no reservations about standing, settled with
Iran and North Korea on a tripartite relationship for the purpose of the
equipment of Syria with nuclear weapons On. Immediately after the death of
the old Asad in June 2000, there was a first meeting between Syria and one
North Korean delegation to the funeral had arrived. It was straight to the
point and discussed the possibility of Syria through the establishment of a
North Korean supplied nuclear reactor for power upgrade. Further details
have been at a conference in Damascus in July 2002. The "Deal", as he
finally found was that the money Iran, Syria and the territory of North
Korea nuclear hardware should be available.

Even in the year 2002, the first deliveries from North Korea Syrian ports -
special building materials, but also relevant scientists and technicians. A
busy ship traffic between North Korea and Syria emerged. Although registered
the United States and Israel this development, but they saw no cause for
concern. It would have been the latest in fall 2006 must be clear that
something unusual was going on. At that time, a Panamanian flagged ship that
is loaded in North Korea was on its route to Syria by Cypriot authorities
stopped and searched. The cargo papers were on "meteorological device," in
fact included 18 Mobile military radar systems on board. While these radar
systems were unobjectionable in principle, would attempt to deceive, as
such, give rise to more intensive searches be.

A "dumb" project

This carelessness was only possible because the satellite intelligence the
United States sent no warning. While you are already registered since 2003,
construction in the area you like az-Zur in eastern Syria, but there seemed
nothing to be exciting. This is even less than at the site no radio or
telephone traffic there. The project was silent. The reason for this lay in
the arrangement of the Syrian government, no technical means to use their
positioning the purpose of the project would have been able to reveal. In
other words: The project "al-Kibar reactor" was directed exclusively via
messenger - medieval, but effective.

So it was no surprise that Americans and Israelis by the revelations of
General Askari February 2007 have been surprised. But the surprise mixed
very quickly to doubt the secret of this super-professional GAU not wanted
to acknowledge. It began a top secret operation of the secret services of
both countries to prevent the thing to get to the bottom. Because you knew
what to look had resulted in new knowledge quickly, the askaris statement
seemed to indicate. But last certainty would not adjust. As decided in the
Israeli leadership to a risky surgery. In mid-August flew command of a 12
person unit in two helicopters to the reactor site al-Kibar, took soil
samples and photographed the facility. The analysis has shown clearly that
it is a North Korean reactor design involved.

Since shortly after a North Korean ship with nuclear fuel on its way to
Syria had been reviewed, it seemed urgent. On the morning of the 6th
September 2007 launched seven Israeli F-15 fighter-bombers to the north.
They flew along the Mediterranean coast, touched and moved to Turkey after
Syria. 50 kilometers from the finish to 22 rockets fired on the three
identified objects within the complex from Kibar. The Syrians were quite
surprised. When their air defense systems were ready for use, were the
Israeli aircraft have long beyond their reach. The mission was successful,
the reactor is destroyed.

Kid gloves compared to North Korea

It took only a few hours, then it became known, Israel had penetrated Syrian
airspace and was "slightly off". Since the Syrian president also expressed
only, no significant damage was incurred and the Syrian air defense, the
Israeli fighter-bombers are forced to flee, the Israeli action has remained
enigmatic. Neither the Israeli nor representative of their protective power
USA had initially elicit any opinion. This corresponded to an agreement the
two countries in advance of the action had closed. As President Bush on 20
September at a press conference was asked several times what this action by
the Israeli Air Force had to be, he answered repeatedly stereotyped: "No
comment."

Bush was obviously keen to the ongoing six-party talks on North Korea's
nuclear program is not to threaten, but he had feared that with the proven
proliferation by North Korea problem would be a matter for negotiation, with
the spirit of the Six-Party Talks incompatible. Israel has played the
American game, although it is a reaction would have preferred - a signal to
Tehran that Israel was capable and willing to refrain from any further
nuclear power in the region permit.

But the trial, public opinion about the Israeli attack to control failed. On
23 October, first article in the American press published. Although the
evidence had become clear, did the governments in Washington and Tel Aviv to
their restrictive public notes. But it crumbled at all corners and ends. On
24 April 2008 finally joined the U.S. government to escape to the front.
Without consultation with Israel's government confirmed U.S. intelligence
personnel, that the object of Israel destroyed by a gas-graphite reactor of
North Korean design had acted in September 2007 would have been ready for
operation. Only hours later, all the information publicly.

The U.S. had already towards the end of 2007 the operations in al-Kibar
carefully-restrained in the Six-Party Talks was introduced. But first, the
North Koreans showed no willingness to establish on this issue. This, in
turn, prompted President Bush in early December 2007, in a letter to the
North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il to require clarification. But the answer
remained - until today. At the attitude of the North Korean leadership has
certainly not changed. You can be attributed to the simple common
denominator: money - as quickly as possible and as much as possible.
According to Israeli estimates, Iran has the Syrian nuclear program payment
with one to two billion dollars in North Korean funds.

Whether it's in the near future additional demand for nuclear hardware from
North Korea will give is an open question. The deterrent effect of the
Israeli action in September 2007 will probably not last. In addition, one
should recall that the world no expert building a secret plutonium-breeder
reactor by North Korea in Syria would have believed possible. Remember you
should also, in this context is not the Chuzpe the North Koreans, on the one
hand, negotiations on nuclear disarmament, while nuclear power to Syria
hochzurüsten. The history of the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology
is definitely a macabre chapter has been enriched.

Iran is hardly deterred

The fact that the Israeli action have any effect on Iran has had, is
questionable. If anything, such that Iran's air defense systems of Russian
origin accelerated expansion. Nevertheless, there is a remarkable connection
between the Israeli attack on al-Kibar and the possible option of a military
strike against Iran's nuclear program. All the experts who deal with this
scenario, are unanimous on one point: The attack would be an outcry of
horror and massive protests throughout the Arab stock trigger, coupled with
reprisals by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and increased activities of
Islamist terror.

How plausible this assumption may be, the example nevertheless urges Syria
to exercise restraint: The destruction of the Syrian nuclear program by the
Israeli Air Force by the Arab world largely been accepted without comment.
Of course Syria is not Iran. But who in the Arab world really wants a
nuclear-armed Iran?

* The author is a former chief of the Planning Staff in the German Defense
Ministry.

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