Can bomb attacks and hit squads against real or presumed terrorists bring about progress in the Middle East? Is it true that Arabs and Israelis only understand the language of violence, as many in Tel Aviv are now saying? Did the operation against the Al Kibar complex, which violated international law, bring the Syrian president to his senses, or did it merely encourage him to harden his position?When faced with brutal enemies on all sides who are all working together to build nuclear bombs for the purpose of wiping it from the earth, should Israel be concerned with "progress in the Middle East" and the self-sacrificial dictates of international law? Or does it have more important things to worry about?
Salon.com is running what appears to be a mostly objective account of a secret Israeli attack on the hidden Al Kibar nuclear facility in Syria in 2007. It reads like a spy novel or an episode of NCIS, and the details are fascinating. Long story short, Mossad did the intelligence work and was "more than convinced that the site posed an existential threat to Israel and that there was evidence of intense cooperation between Syria and North Korea." They sent jets over in the dead of night and blew the hell out of it.
As one would expect from even the best of today's journalists, this report is as interesting for its moral subtext as it is for the journalistic details. Note the quote above where the writers draw the wrong conclusions about the Israeli action. They're operating from the altruistic, UN, internationalist standpoint, and are dismissive of a rational, self-interested motivation for foreign policy and military action.
While describing the nighttime air raid on the nuclear facility, they say,
as is always the case with these strikes, the bombs were far more destructive than necessary. For the Israelis, it made little difference whether a few guards were killed or a larger number of people.The snide judgment here is obvious, even though by their own account, the facility was in the middle of nowhere, and was a military installation. Of course they want to wipe the damn thing from the map, and take as many people associated with it as possible. "[T]he site posed an existential threat to Israel." Case closed.
Still, the report has a lot of amazing detail, much of it without the editorializing. It describes intelligence operations and successful, TV-show-like assassinations--likely carried out by Mossad--of dangerous terrorists and high-level military operatives. It also discusses the unfortunate situation of Iran, and how much more difficult it will be to destroy its bomb-making facilities.
It's definitely worth a read, so check it out.