The New Yorker magazine has published a detailed account of Israel’s attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor near al-Kibar in September 2007.   David Makovsky reports that both the United States and Israel had intelligence reports about this nuclear facility in the northeastern desert region of Syria.  After the United States decided against military action, Israel decided to act alone and successfuly destroyed the reactor.

The plan to attack took form after Israeli mossad agents broke into the home of  Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria’s nuclear program, who lived in Vienna.  The March 2007 break-in revealed dozens of pictures from inside the facility.  The fact that they saw North Korean workers in the facility together with the design of the structure made clear that it was a plutonium nuclear reactor.

Following the doctrine set by Prime Minister Menachem Begin who bombed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981, which says that Israel can never allow enemy countries to obtain nuclear weapons, the government decided to act.  Prime Minister Olmert kept only a few high ranking ministers and former Prime Ministers informed of the situation and the decision.  He hoped that the United States would lead the attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor but officials in Washington did not agree with the timetable for the attack.  They wanted more time for diplomacy and sanctions against Syria in addition to UN oversight of the facility.   The Israeli leadership feared that waiting too long could lead to the reactor becoming active in which case an attack could pollute the Euphrates river.

Once the United States decided not to act, Prime Minister Olmert ordered swift action and just after midnight on Septeember 6, 2007, eight Israeli fighter jets bombed the site with 17 tons of explolsives on the site, thereby protecting the world from having to deal with a nuclear armed Syria.      Click HERE to see the New Yorker Story.

Reported by DOV LIPMAN for United with Israel.

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