Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Israel bombing of Syria still mysterious

Well, photographs apparently taken before Israel bombed a target inside Syria have surfaced, and while they might point to the likelihood that Syria was building something like a nuclear enrichment facility similar in design to North Korea's, the evidence is not quite conclusive. Seems the Syrians put the roof on early, so aerial photos can't see what went inside. Suspicious, but not quite conclusive.

Here are three rather different takes on the incident. Joshua Muravchik of AEI thinks -- hopes -- that the incident will give new life to Bush's preemption (really prevention, which has generally been viewed as forbidden under international law) doctrine. He was on "Hardball" the other night arguing for a preventive strike against Iran. I've talked to Josh a number of times, I like him, and he's better-informed than most neocons. But a preventive-strike dopctrine is a formula for endless war.

Daniel Byman, in Slate, thinks the incident shows Syria's Bashar Assad is something of a gambler in international relations, unlike his predecessor father, who was cruel but cautious, and this doesn't bode well for anything resembling peace in the region. Ha'aretz's Shmuel Rosner thinks it shows a huge intelligence gap.

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