The American and Israeli officials said the Israeli government notified the Bush administration about the planned attack just before the raid. It is not clear whether administration officials expressed support for the action or counseled against it.
The raid has aroused intense speculation in Washington and Jerusalem, but details remain extraordinarily murky. Officials said access to new intelligence about suspected North Korean support to Syria has been confined to a very small group of officials in Washington and Jerusalem.
The details of the Israeli intelligence remain highly classified, and the accounts about Israel’s thinking were provided by current and former officials who are generally sympathetic to Israel’s point of view. It is not clear whether American intelligence agencies agree with the Israeli assessment about the facility targeted in the raid, and some officials expressed doubt that Syria has either the money or the scientific talent to initiate a serious nuclear program.
But current and former American and Israeli officials who have received briefings from Israeli sources said Monday that the raid was an attempt by Israel to destroy a site that Israel believed to be associated with a rudimentary Syrian nuclear program. [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — According to the Wall Street Journal‘s Bret Stephens, “the least unlikely possibility” of what happened when Israeli fighters struck something in eastern Syria was that we could have “just lived through a partial reprise of the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor.” There was an Israeli attack; there wasn’t a nuclear reactor.
“What’s beyond question is that something big went down on Sept. 6.”
It was big. It went down.
The Jerusalem Post‘s Caroline Glick believes “it is far from clear that either Israel or the US understand the significance of Israel’s operation in Syria.”
Was the operation an act of God? Maybe so. Perhaps that’s why 78% of Israelis — who have no knowledge of what was hit — nevertheless expressed their support for the attack.