Syria Comment: Report from Deir al-ZurJosh Landis' Syria Comment is often far too pro-Assad for my tastes. But this report is important if only because (if his claim is true) it's unique. Josh has a report today from a woman whom he claims is the only western reporter to visit Deir al-Zur, the place where the IDF allegedly bombed a Syrian WMD facility on September 6. I want to give you one paragraph as a caution to take this report with a grain of salt, and then I want to share with you what I believe to be the key paragraphs of this story. Here's my grain of salt:
After the invasion of Iraq, former US Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner identified charges against Syria as one of 50 false news stories created by Israel and the White House to justify war. "Saddam's nuclear WMDs moved to Syria" was propaganda he said.Now we all now that's the kind of conspiracy theory that only someone afflicted with Bush Dementia Syndrome could invent. It's simply untrue. Having salted the story, now I want to give you the key part of it:
Several days ago, after the attack on Syria's "nuclear program", I spoke to western oil company officials in Deir Ez Zor. One technician told me they routinely monitor radiation as part of the refining process. They registered no heightened levels of nuclear residue in the area as there would have been if the Israelis had hit a North Korean atomic stockpile. Operations and technical foremen put it this way: "The nuclear claims against Syria are pure bullsh*t.".The Syrian smoking gun is the complete lack of any mushroom cloud.
1. Israel would not have taken the risk of such a brazen attack if it did not believe it was going after weapons.
2. Given that Israel has let hundreds - if not thousands - of weapons shipments to Hezbullah pass over the past thirteen months, it is highly unlikely that it would attack these particular weapons - whether or not they were bound for Hezbullah (and I don't believe they were) - unless there was something different about them.
3. Syria has an interest in not disclosing what kind of facility was attacked. That interest is likely dictated by the nature of the weapons. Syria doesn't want the world to know that it has these weapons.
4. North Korea condemned the attack, which took place more than 10,000 miles from its borders. That makes it likely that these weapons came from North Korea. North Korea has both a chemical and a nuclear capability.
5. Israel also does not want to disclose the type of facility attacked. This may have to do with a fear of world condemnation, as happened after Israel attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, but it may also have to do with the fact that Israel has a severe shortage of gas masks, about which it has done nothing. In the event of a chemical attack - God forbid - without gas masks, hundreds, if not thousands of Israelis could God forbid perish.
6. There has been no (measurable) nuclear fallout from the attack.
7. CNN's Christiane Amanpour - who is of Lebanese descent and is very pro-Arab - described the attack as having caused 'a hole in the desert.' That would indicate that what was attacked was a major facility.
In sum, assuming the correctness of the report published by Josh Landis, I believe that it strengthens my contention that what was attacked was a chemical plant and not a nuclear plant. Read the whole thing and draw your own conclusions. I'm adding a map below in case anyone wants to look at the area in question.