Getting US approval for Israel’s September 6 raid on Syria’s nuclear facility

The Times of London provides more detail on the September 6 raid. The Israeli military stole nuclear material from Syria to prove its North Korean fingerprint sometime during the summer:

Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it this month, according to informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem. The attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say.

They confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. This raised fears that Syria might have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. Israeli special forces had been gathering intelligence for several months in Syria, according to Israeli sources. They located the nuclear material at a compound near Dayr az-Zwar in the north.

Evidence that North Korean personnel were at the site is said to have been shared with President George W Bush over the summer. A senior American source said the administration sought proof of nuclear-related activities before giving the attack its blessing.

It seems likely that the US participated in the execution of the September 6 raid in a more significant way than has been yet acknowledged.

UPDATE

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From the NYT on October 27, 2007:

Yet Another Photo of Site in Syria, Yet More Questions — The mystery surrounding the construction of what might have been a nuclear reactor in Syria deepened yesterday, when a company released a satellite photo showing that the main building was well under way in September 2003 — four years before Israeli jets bombed it.

The long genesis is likely to raise questions about whether the Bush administration overlooked a nascent atomic threat in Syria while planning and executing a war in Iraq, which was later found to have no active nuclear program.

A senior American intelligence official said yesterday that American analysts had looked carefully at the site from its early days, but were unsure then whether it posed a nuclear threat.

In the time before the Iraq war, President Bush and his senior advisers sounded many alarms about Baghdad’s reconstituting its nuclear program. But they have never publicly discussed what many analysts say appears to have been a long-running nuclear effort next door.

Yesterday independent analysts, examining the latest satellite image, suggested that work on the site might have begun around 2001, and the senior intelligence official agreed with that analysis. That early date is potentially significant in terms of North Korea’s suspected aid to Syria, suggesting that North Korea could have begun its assistance in the late 1990s.

It’s probably even worse than we think.

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