Israel's Airstrike on Syria's Reactor: Implications for the Nonproliferation Regime

By Leonard S. Spector and Avner Cohen

On September 6, 2007, in a surprise dawn attack, seven Israeli warplanes destroyed an industrial facility near al-Kibar, Syria, later identified by the CIA as a nearly completed nuclear reactor secretly under construction since 2001. According to the CIA, the unit was built with North Korean assistance and was modeled on one used by North Korea to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.

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Gunnar Westberg said...

The article gives a thorough and interesting analysis of many of the unusual aspects of this incident, in particular the surprising absence of international reaction to the Israeli bomb raid. However, the authors seem to accept as facts the assumptions that the site was a nuclear reactor built with North Korean help. This may have been the case, but there is no independent evidence, nor are the photos convincing. That the USA has not published any better photos with background information does raise some suspicion. In my discussions with diplomats and experts at the recent NPT PrepCom I found them to be surprised that no more convincing information has been provided. No one wanted, however, to challenge the US representative on this point as this would have resulted in a fruitless exchange of accusations. As the authors point out, Arab states have their own reasons to discredit Iran and its posible allies.

If the IAEA inspection does not find any trace of a nuclear reactor, this will not be generally accepted a proof that there was no nuclear facility. "Every trace could have been removed." The assumption that there was a nuclear reactor, intended for the production of nuclear weapons, build with assistance from DPRK will rapidly be treated as a fact, and as proof of the malignant influence from North Korea and the evil intentions of Iran.

Foreign policy builds all too often on unproven accusations that are made into "facts" by being repeated uncritically.

Gunnar Westberg
Past president, IPPNW

Dreamer said...

A detailed analysis of the open evidence shows it's unlikely the target was a nuclear reactor: