Israel Confirms They Bombed A Nuclear Reactor in Syria in 2007
Israel has finally confirmed that they were responsible for the bombing of a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. Many suspect the Israel admission is a meant to send a warning to Iran.
The Israel military finally ended an era of secrecy by confirming they attacked a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. The revelation broke a decade-long silence over the Jewish state’s involvement in the attack.
The release from the country’s military revealed eight F-15 warplanes launched airstrikes against the partially-constructed facility in the Deir ez-Zour region, 450 kilometers northwest of Syria’s capital Damascus.
Many people had believed that Israel was behind the Sept. 6, 2007 attack. Israeli media was banned until now from publishing the story about the airstrike due to censorship from the military.
International media outlets picked up the story over the years and reported the bombing even as Israel remained quiet on the attack. An article written by David Makovsky in The New Yorker in 2012 described the attack in detail as well as the events leading up to and after the airstrike.
Israel’s Air Force Commander Mayor General Amikam Norkin hailed the attack as the right decision. The suspected nuclear site was located in a once ISIS-held region.
In 1981, Israel had destroyed another nuclear reactor in Baghdad, Iraq. The 2007 attack gained support from the U.S., who suspected that North Korea helped Syria to develop the plant.
The Syrian military remained silent after the airstrike. President Bashar Al-Assad’s only statement was that Israel bombed a military-related facility which was no longer being used.
Why is Israel telling the truth now?
It is still not clear why exactly Israel has finally decided to lift the secrecy after keeping it quiet for over a decade.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented, “Israel’s policy was and remains consistent–to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with nuclear weapons.”
Iran expert Uzi Rabi from Tel Aviv University said that Israel’s surprising disclosure sends a strong warning to Iran, as the predominantly Shia country has expanded its military presence in Syria.
Israel and Syria in the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
Syria was a signatory to the NPT before the airstrike. Under the agreement, the country has rights to build a plant only to generate electricity. Syria is also obliged to inform the U.N. nuclear body IAEA of any plans to develop a nuclear project.
Israel has yet to sign the NPT; the Jewish state is believed to have nuclear weapons. The country neither admits nor denies this.
Is the world applying a double standard?
A leaked email from former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to his business partner Jeffrey Leeds in March 2015 said that the Israeli military had 200 nuclear weapons, all targeted to Iran. In the email conversation, both discussed the warning issued by Netanyahu on a nuclear agreement between the west and Tehran, Iran’s capital.
In 2015, Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani blasted the world’s nuclear powers, accusing them of being hypocritical. “They tell us ‘we don’t want Iran to make atomic bombs,’ you who have made atomic bombs,” Rouhani said in his speech in Isfahan.
Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, signed a landmark agreement known as The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the “Iran Nuclear Deal,” in July 2015 in Vienna, Austria.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to dismantle its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and slash about two-thirds of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.
President Trump has at times hinted at the possibility of finding Iran out of compliance with the deal despite Trump’s own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, stating that Iran was in compliance.
Now with President Trump’s selecting John Bolton just last week to replace H.R. McMaster as his national security advisor the Iran nuclear deal seems even more threatened. John Bolton is well regarded as an ardent proponent of employing U.S. military might and considered a “war hawk”. Many presume Trump chose Bolton because they both call for the dismantling or re-working of the Iran nuclear deal.
If the West truly desires peace in the Middle East, many think backing out of the Iran nuclear deal, especially while maintaing strong support for Israel, will escalate tension and run counter to any peace making attempts.
As Joseph Cirincione, president of the nuclear nonproliferation-focused Ploughshares Fund said, “If the West wants to make the Middle East nuclear-free, it is impossible not to focus on Israel.”