Keeping the Ball Up in the Air

My goodness. It’s the story that wouldn’t die. There’s yet another report, this time in the Times of London, that Israel’s strike against a Syrian target in early September was against a nuclear bomb assembly site:

ISRAEL’S top-secret air raid on Syria in September destroyed a bomb factory assembling warheads fuelled by North Korean plutonium, a leading Israeli nuclear expert has told The Sunday Times.

Professor Uzi Even of Tel Aviv University was one of the founders of the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona, the source of the Jewish state’s undeclared nuclear arsenal.

“I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium, namely, a factory for assembling the bomb,” he said. “I think the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] transferred to Syria weapons-grade plutonium in raw form, that is nuggets of easily transported metal in protective cans. I think the shaping and casting of the plutonium was supposed to be in Syria.”

All governments concerned – even the regime in Damascus – have tried to maintain complete secrecy about the raid.

Opinions have been expressed on all sorts of grounds about what happened. Some believe on hypothetical grounds that whatever was attacked it certainly wasn’t a site at which nuclear bombs were being researched or assembled. Some believe on equally hypothetical grounds that it most certainly was. The facts as we know them (and as ably summarized at GlobalSecurity) are that on September 6, 2007 Israeli warplanes attacked a site in Syria and that some time subsequent to that the Syrians completely levelled the site. That’s about it. Everything else we’ve heard are statements about the facts.

We need more facts. Short of that it’s just keeping the ball in the air. To what purpose?

2 comments… add one
  • Uzi Mahnaimi has a problem with the truth. Anything he writes must be taken with a grain of salt, or maybe even with a whole salt mine. As soon as I saw the title and the publication, I knew I’d see the name.

  • This latest story is almost certainly false. We have a pretty good idea on how much plutonium North Korea produced over the years and they are about to make a formal declaration of all their nuclear materials and activities as part of the six-party negotiations. So, if North Korea has given weapons-grade plutonium to Syria, we will know about it.

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