The Duck of Minerva

Syria updates

11 November 2009

Back in fall 2007 and spring 2008, former Duck blogger Peter Howard was carefully following reports about the apparent Israeli attack on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility of some sort. I just linked Peter’s last post on the event, from April 2008, and to a Duck search result that should unearth his entire series of posts. The Israel target was quite mysterious and the rumors associated with the attack far outnumbered the facts.

The German periodical Der Speigel has a lengthy story on-line dated 2 November that attempts to tell the tale.

According to Erich Follath and Holger Stark, Israel’s “Operation Orchard” destroyed a secret nuclear reactor — perhaps linked to Iran’s nuclear program. However, that allegation is not stopping the Obama administration from trying to improve relations with the Syrian regime (which is apparently reducing its ties to Iran).

The world has changed a lot since 2003 when the neocons were saying “on to Syria” in the wake of the initial successes in Iraq. Now, former AIPAC executive director Tom Dine is working for a group trying to improve US-Syrian relations!

Finally, in a new twist, Syrian President Bashar Assad is reportedly thinking about the Gadhafi pathway towards international respectability: renounce a failed WMD program.

Assad has been considering taking a sensational political step. He is believed to have suggested to contacts in Pyongyang that he is considering the disclosure of his “national” nuclear program, but without divulging any details of cooperation with his North Korean and Iranian partners. Libyan revolutionary leader Moammar Gadhafi reaped considerable benefits from the international community after a similar “confession” about his country’s nuclear program.

Peter, if you are reading, I hope you enjoy the new turns in the tale.