Initially thought by many to be some sort of a weapons cache, the IAEA had noted in the past that the facility did resemble a clandestine Syrian nuclear reactor project. Now the rest of the world has come to realize a stark reality that had long been suspected in intelligence circles, and that Israel deduced over four years ago...
Operation Orchard was a 2007 airstrike conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) upon a covert Syrian nuclear site in the Deir ez-Zor desert region of Syria. In the wake of the attack, the Bush Administration and CIA confirmed the site was a "military target", while Damascus of course denied it. But it soon came to the fore that the now-incinerated site was actually nuclear in nature... and that the Norks were involved somehow as well.
A unit of elite Shaldag commandos were already on the ground at the Syrian desert site the day before, deployed to lay a kiss-o-death laser beam right on the target, marking it for destruction from above. Other reports had the Sayeret Matkal special-forces -where current PM Benjamin Netanyahu once led- also involved.
Later, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation in 2008 reported evidence of "significant" traces uranium as well as control-rod graphite, while noting numerous features indicative of an undeclared nuclear reactor.
But as we came to expect from Mohammed ElBarradei -long a man of dubious principle, competence, and loyalties- his largely ineffective UN agency still somehow failed to confirm or deny the nature of the site, claiming that Syria "failed to provide necessary cooperation with the IAEA investigation".
Syria purported that they "had no nuclear secrets to hide". Back and forth they went, as with preceding/ongoing IAEA charades in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Now at at long last they are officially stating that the site that Israel reduced to rubble was in-fact an unfinished nuclear reactor. Earlier this year, photos released by a Washington, DC think tank betrayed a second covert nuclear site in Syria as well.
The Israelis steadfastly asserted that the project was built with North Korean help, but as with Saddam's reactor destroyed in 1983, tiny Israel somehow has saved us all from yet another heinous dictator armed with nuclear weapons... and again, to world condemnation. That's OK, they're used to such ingratitude and strategic ignorance amongst their myriad international critics.
I guess they better get rested-up for Iran- going to be a long night.
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