Saturday, October 06, 2007

Drum Bangs The Iran Drum

By Cernig

I'm depressed. Even Kevin Drum is banging the Iran war drum - the one that says the route to Teheran lies through Damascus.

Kevin notes the ABC's report today - sourced from anonymous US officials - that says Israel presented evidence that a Syrian target was a nuclear site as long ago as July, but that Rice and other diplomacy-pushers stopped them actually attacking it until September. He then cites a blog post by Aviation Week's senior editor which again cites anonymous U.S. sources to suggest Israel blinded Syria's state-of-the-art Russian radar during its attack using a US provided radar-spoofing system.

Now David A. Fulghum is an acknowledged expert in his field - and he doesn't mention nukes in his post at all. That's possibly because the involvement of such a system would actually bolster a contrary explanation that has been doing the rounds - that Israel's attack in Syria was on some lower-level target but was seen as both a practise run for Iran strikes and a method of upping the diplomatic pressure by sending a clear message to Teheran and Damascus about the consequences of intransigence.

Kevin, however, is all set to believe the anonymous US officials talking to ABC.
Obviously I'm just playing amateur sleuth here, but it doesn't seem like you'd tip your hand about the capabilities of technology like this in order to destroy a bunch of rocket launchers and North Korean Scuds. The mission had to be important enough to make it worth letting the Syrians (and the Iranians and the Russians) know that their air defenses had been compromised. They might figure out how to fix it next time, after all. So maybe there was some North Korean nuclear technology there after all.

And is it a coincidence that within weeks North Korea suddenly decided to cut a deal with the U.S. to abandon its nuclear program? It might well be. But it is something of a coincidence, isn't it?
Well, the North Korean deal had been signalled and expected by everyone including the U.S. for months so that may be a stretch. It seems just as likely that, in the current climate, Israel was very well served by such a distraction from its own nuclear arsenal just as a Governing Council vote on demanding IAEA inspections was put forward by Egypt with Syrian backing.

But what's got me depressed is that Kevin is actually giving those anonymous US officials who spoke to ABC the benefit of the doubt - forgetting entirely the run up to the Iraq war and also missing yesterday's Daily Telegraph's interview with recently resigned Cheney aide David Wurmser. Wurmser told the Telegraph that it is the Cheney office's belief that "We need to do everything possible to destabilise the Syrian regime and exploit every single moment they strategically overstep," and that "That would include the willingness to escalate as far as we need to go to topple the regime if necessary." The desired result, he said, was to topple the Iranian regime by showing its inability to protect Syria from attack and thus provoke an Iranian response that could serve as a causus belli.

Is there any doubt that these anonymous officials were speaking directly from that infamous undisclosed location and with the full backing of Fourth Branch? After all this time and all the lies, it seems many who should know better are still willing to suspend their disbelief in the war-mongers' machinations.

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