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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt...

... It's also 'policy' in Syria.

The New York Times reports this morning that the Syrians are now denying that an Israeli raid every took place in Deir ez Zohr. The Syrians even took foreign journalists on a tour of the local 'agricultural research center' to 'prove it.' No Israeli journalists allowed of course:
Ron Ben-Yishai, a writer for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, grabbed headlines when he suggested that the government facility here was attacked during the raid, snapping photos of himself for his article in front of a sign for the agricultural center.

He said he was denied access to the research center, which sits on the outskirts of the city, and he did not show any photos of the aftermath of the raid, though he said he saw some pits that looked like part of a mine or quarry, implying that they could also be sites where bombs fell.

His claims have compelled the Syrian government, already anxious over the rising tensions with Israel and the United States, to try to vindicate itself after a recent flurry of news reports that it may have ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons.

President Bashar al-Assad, in a BBC interview, played down the Israeli raid, saying that Israeli jets took aim at empty military buildings, but he did not give a specific location. His statement differed from the initial Syrian claim that it had repulsed the air raid before an attack occurred.


On Monday, journalists toured the agricultural center at the government’s invitation to prove, Mr. Mehdi said, that no nuclear weapons program or Israeli attacks occurred there. “The allegations are completely groundless, and I don’t really understand where all this W.M.D. talk came from,” Mr. Mehdi said, referring to weapons of mass destruction.

“There was no raid here — we heard nothing,“ he added.

An entourage of the center’s employees lined up with him to greet the journalists. In a seemingly choreographed display, they nodded in agreement and offered their guests recently picked dates as tokens of hospitality.

They showed off a drab-colored laboratory that they said was used to conduct experiments on drought-resistant crops and recently plowed fields where vegetables and fruits are grown.
I wonder if anyone thought to have those dates tested for traces of radiation. Hmmm.

The real question here is why the Syrians are going to such lengths to keep issuing denials and 'proving' that the raid never occurred. Why don't they just stop talking about it? I believe that the answer lies in the failure of the Russian Pantsyr missile defense to stop the raid. In fact, since Iran purchased the same Russian system for itself and for the Syrians, the orders to deny the raid's occurrence may even be coming from Tehran. I've said before that I believe that now that we know that the Pantsyr can be jammed, the attack on Iran's nuclear facilities should take place sooner rather than later - before the Iranians and the Russians have a chance to regroup. Are the Syrians trying to cast doubt on the Pantsyr's failure in order to forestall such an attack? If so, they're not doing a great job of it. And the problems with the Pantsyr, as I have noted before, are significant.

But what really upsets the Syrians is not the existence or non-existence of an Israeli raid, but that an Israeli reporter managed to slip into Syria.
Mr. Ben-Yishai’s news report rattled Syrians for another reason: he apparently was able to slip into Syria, which bars Israelis from entering, and travel throughout the country.

“I think he came in on a European passport,” said Ghazi Bilto, who said he was a graphic designer for the agricultural center.

Burhan Okko, who also said he was a graphic designer for the center, interrupted, saying, “It was definitely on a German passport.”
Maybe it was a Canadian passport. In any event, if Ben-Yishai could slip into Syria, it's quite likely that Israeli commandos could also have slipped into Syria. All of which makes the Syrian denials ring more hollow than ever.


At 11:47 AM, Blogger M. Simon said...

My speculation?

Russia is double dealing in the ME.

I think there are secret IFF codes that open a back door in the radar that turns off a return.

Makes more sense than the "reprogramming comms" stuff I have heard.

Plus it will give he Russians the ability to dell "secure" comms to the ME.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger M. Simon said...

"dell" should be "sell"


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