Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hersh on the Israeli attack on Syria

From Seymour Hersh’s article on the Israeli attack on Syria, confirming what I’ve been saying all along:

“The former U.S. senior intelligence official told me that, as he understood it, America’s involvement in the Israeli raid dated back months earlier, and was linked to the Administration’s planning for a possible air war against Iran. Last summer, the Defense Intelligence Agency came to believe that Syria was installing a new Russian-supplied radar-and-air-defense system that was similar to the radar complexes in Iran. Entering Syrian airspace would trigger those defenses and expose them to Israeli and American exploitation, yielding valuable information about their capabilities. Vice-President Dick Cheney supported the idea of overflights, the former senior intelligence official said, because ‘it would stick it to Syria and show that we’re serious about Iran.’ (The Vice-President’s office declined to comment.) The former senior intelligence official said that Israeli military jets have flown over Syria repeatedly, without retaliation from Syria. At the time, the former senior intelligence official said, the focus was on radar and air defenses, and not on any real or suspected nuclear facility. Israel’s claims about the target, which emerged later, caught many in the military and intelligence community – if not in the White House – by surprise.

and (the second paragraph in this excerpt is dedicated to the memory of Noam’s reputation):

“Shortly after the bombing, a Chinese envoy and one of the Bush Administration’s senior national-security officials met in Washington. The Chinese envoy had just returned from a visit to Tehran, a person familiar with the discussion told me, and he wanted the White House to know that there were moderates there who were interested in talks. The national-security official rejected that possibility and told the envoy, as the person familiar with the discussion recalled, ‘‘You are aware of the recent Israeli statements about Syria. The Israelis are extremely serious about Iran and its nuclear program, and I believe that, if the United States government is unsuccessful in its diplomatic dealings with Iran, the Israelis will take it out militarily.’ He then told the envoy that he wanted him to convey this to his government – that the Israelis were serious.

‘He was telling the Chinese leadership that they’d better warn Iran that we can’t hold back Israel, and that the Iranians should look at Syria and see what’s coming next if diplomacy fails,’ the person familiar with the discussion said. ‘His message was that the Syrian attack was in part aimed at Iran.’”

Of course, you could also read this as just more ‘Iran talk’, useless words intended to scare the Iranians into bowing to the Empire.  If so, it has been a spectacular failure.  If the Iranians have learned anything from the attack on Syria, it is that the Russian air defense system works quite well.  The bottom line is that the Israelis won’t be able to knock out enough rocket emplacements in their next illegal and unprovoked attack to prevent a rain of Hell from falling on Israeli civilians.  Duck and cover!