Thirty Years War
Though both are "religious" wars.
Is a counterstrike finally coming?
The Secret War With Iran
In August 2007, because certain intelligence agencies were not convinced of Israeli claims that President Bashar Assad was engaged in the construction of a nuclear weapons facility, Israel sent sent 12 members of the Sayeret Matkal commando unit into Syria in two helicopters to collect soil samples outside the site in question.Plenty more, so read it all...
The results provided "clear-cut proof" of the nuclear project," investigative journalist Ronen Bergman writes in his new book, The Secret War with Iran.
A month later, Israel bombed the site, and in so doing reemphasized the Begin Doctrine - Israel's insistence that, for the sake of its own survival, it will not allow the deployment by hostile neighbors of weapons that might be used to destroy it.
Bergman's book, which will be published next week in the United States, is an expanded, updated version of his Hebrew-language The Point of No Return, which was Israel's best-selling non-fiction work in 2007.
Plainly, the author has been allowed access to a range of material hitherto kept classified by various intelligence services. Plainly, too, what he is publishing is material that Israel is content to have widely disseminated and some of which cannot be independently verified. The book was submitted to censorship, and not all of its content was approved, he told me when he dropped off a copy a few days ago, though it did sometimes seem as though he had run into the censor on a relatively benign day.
Most notable, perhaps, in this context, is the fact that the guardians of Israel's military secrets have allowed Bergman to provide a fairly extensive account of that September 6, 2007, raid on Syria's nuclear facility - whose purpose he states unambiguously was "the production of plutonium for the manufacture of atomic bombs" and whose construction, he reports, was a tripartite endeavor: "At a series of secret meetings between representatives of the three sides, held mainly in Teheran, it was decided that Syria would supply the territory, Iran the money [$1 billion-$2b.], and North Korea the expertise..."
Last year's raid was the subject of some of the heaviest military censorship that I have encountered in the past 25 years: Israel was desperate to take no official responsibility for the attack, and in this way to allow Damascus plausible deniability, to avoid a deterioration into war. There was no official confirmation of the raid, and for a long time after it, all references in the Israeli media had to include conditioning phrases such as the "reported" Israeli strike.
Apparently such concerns no longer apply. Bergman has been freed to describe, without the censor's usual required attribution to "foreign sources," the entire process by which the Syrian facility was built - with details of the shipments of material from North Korea and the dispatch of Korean scientists. He sets out the circumstances of that high-risk August fact-finding mission by Sayeret Matkal. And he is allowed to note that "a number of North Koreans" were killed in the Israeli attack.
Although destroying the site was an Israeli operation, Bergman makes clear further that "the Israelis and the Americans decided to act," and that the two countries coordinated on the official silence policy after the raid was successfully completed. "Prime Minister Olmert and President Bush decided that both countries would maintain a policy of total nonreaction, without exceptions, and without winks or nods. If the Syrians had not been in a hurry to issue their own statements, the whole matter might not have been disclosed at all."
A few weeks ago, the White House took the unusual step of issuing a specific denial of a report on Army Radio, picked up by the Post, which claimed that a Bush official recently told his Israeli counterparts that the president is planning to strike Iran's nuclear facilities before leaving office. Only this week, a newspaper in The Netherlands claimed that Dutch intelligence has abruptly halted an "extremely successful" ongoing operation to sabotage Iran's nuclear program because of an assessment that such an American strike is indeed just weeks away.
[A]s of May 2008, "the Mossad's estimate" is that Bush, "out of religious and ideological motives, will order a strike."
But the real threat - the player that gave Iran the vital resources to stride forward - was Pakistan, via its notorious nuclear salesman Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.