A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
September 9 , 2007 What Did Israel Do In Syria- An informed Opinion
It is day four after the reported incursion of Israeli aircraft into Northern Syria and as one correspondent in Israel noted, this may have been the first time in Israel's history that there has not been one leak from the government. Every one of IsraelŐs ministers has refused to say a word.
For the first time since I began writing this column, almost 8 months ago, I am going to speculate, as opposed to give analysis. I suspect that Israel's alleged "fly over" of Syrian air space was not a reconnaissance flight, nor was it an attempt to engage the Syrian missile systems. I believe Israel successfully attacked a high value target: either a chemical/biological or nuclear target in Northern Syria. I come to this conclusion based on a number of factors. First, reports now coming out of Turkey refer to a flight of four F-15 Is, the most advanced aircraft in the IsraelŐs arsenal. F-15 I is Israel's premier attack bomber and four would not be used in a reconnaissance mission, nor would they be needed to just to test the anti-aircraft response something that is probably not needed in any case.
Second, and probably more telling, have been the comments by military correspondents of Israel's TV networks. They clearly know what happened, though they are unable to say due to military censorship. However, they have given a number of very strong hints. On the first day after the attack, one of the military correspondents stated that Israel would not have taken the risk of worsening the situation with Syria, unless the mission was very very important. Then, on Friday night, the Channel 2 military correspondent stated that much could be learned from a Poem written by Nathan Alterman in 1956. In that year, Israel secretly began receiving tanks from France. Alterman who was considered one of Israel's leading poets was allowed to view the secret arrival of the tanks. He then wrote a poem, which Ben Gurion allowed him to read to the Knesset about the event. The poem, which I have obtained a full copy from the Knesset, (see the complete poem) is all about what an important event in Israel's history had taken place. In the fourth stanza he writes: "Maybe it was the night that was or the night that will be: it is the night that there is no description or name- but when the time comes it will be clear the importance of the date..... It will be the night that our fate was determined. Draw your own conclusions regarding the poem, but no routine reconnaissance mission, (especially one in the middle of the night), could possibly e'plain the sorts of event to which all the military correspondents are referring. In addition, tonight Channel 10Ős Arab affairs correspondent referred to the fact that only Russia and Iran have condemned whatever took place in Syria. He speculated that most of the Arab world was happy that the "bad boy" of the neighborhood had been Ňhurt hard.
The third, final piece of the puzzle, for short period today, HaAretz, had an article on the front of its Web site from Yoav Stern, referring to an article written in the Wall Street Journal, on August 31st, by former U.S. U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. In the article Bolton states:
"We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched."
"Whether and to what e'tent Iran, Syria or others might be 'safe havens' for North Korea's nuclear weapons development, or may have already participated with or benefited from it, must be made clear," he added.
While, none of these statements are conclusive, to me, only a target like the ones referenced by Bolton would have been a high enough value to attack under the current circumstances.
Another related part of the picture is word of Israel's recent action in Gaza. An elite IDF unit went deep into Gaza and captured Mowadi Kadi, who is suspected of being a key participant in the kidnapping of corporal Gilad Shalit. This mission and the potential audacious actions of IsraelŐs Air Force in Syria, both have the fingerprint of Ehud Barak. They are just the type of measures that were e'pected from Barak.