Sunday, April 16, 2017

Could Be Just a Coincidence

Left: Syria's nuclear reactor. Right: After Israel remodeled it in 2007.
Recently, the USA launched Tomahawk missiles into Syria for cause and, as a follow-on, is in one of the perennial pissing matches with North Korea which always seems to end with NK firing off a dud missile. It's a pattern, almost like a three-act play.

These events got me to thinking about another time when Syria was on the receiving end of American-made missiles.
Operation Orchard was an Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria, which occurred just after midnight (local time) on September 6, 2007. The Israeli and U.S. governments imposed virtually total news blackouts immediately after the raid that held for seven months. The White House and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) subsequently confirmed that American intelligence had also indicated the site was a nuclear facility with a military purpose, though Syria denies this. A 2009 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation reported evidence of uranium and graphite and concluded that the site bore features resembling an undeclared nuclear reactor. IAEA was initially unable to confirm or deny the nature of the site because, according to IAEA, Syria failed to provide necessary cooperation with the IAEA investigation.Syria has disputed these claims. Nearly four years later, in April 2011, the IAEA officially confirmed that the site was a nuclear reactor.
Of course, it wasn't the first time that Israel has taken the initiative against her enemies, but that isn't what I intend to draw attention to here.

Look who was helping Syria with her reactor.
North Korea has a penchant to proliferate to earn a living, and warning about this proliferation lies buried in Syria’s desert. There, at a remote location near the Euphrates, North Korean technicians were helping Syria build a covert nuclear reactor until Israel warplanes bombed it in September 2007.

This reactor, destroyed before it started operations, had no obvious civil applications. It was built in great secrecy and without the required notification to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Once destroyed by Israeli bombs, Syria quickly hid the remains from international scrutiny. Much of a neighboring hill was bulldozed over the reactor remains, and a new building erected on top.
Now, neither Kim Jong-un nor his father-predecessor Kim Jong-il have ever bothered with having a reasonable pretext to threaten its neighbors or the USA--at least not in public. But, I'm wondering if the American attack on Syria is Li'ler Kim's secret reason, coerced or not, for his present behavior.

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