Ten Years Ago, Israel Stopped Bashar al-Assad’s Syria from Becoming Another North Korea

On September 6, 2007, Israeli jets destroyed a nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert, provoking neither international condemnation nor significant retaliation. By coincidence, just after the tenth-year anniversary of this bombing, the IDF appears to have destroyed another Syrian installation producing dangerous weapons. Gabriel Scheinmann revisits the dramatic story of Israel’s bringing intelligence about the reactor to President George W. Bush, the Bush administration’s choice not to act, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s decision to solve the problem without U.S. support—a story that has significant implications for today’s concerns about Iran and North Korea. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 57 minutes.)

Read more at Tikvah

More about: Ehud Olmert, George W. Bush, Israel & Zionism, Nuclear proliferation, Syria

 

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security