Two Stories To Take With A Grain of Salt

There’s much hubbub lately about a couple of things. One is a “completely unsourced article”:http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/international/wie_iran_syriens_nuklearbewaffnung_vorangetrieben_hat_1.2221863.html in the Swiss newspaper _Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung_ that makes a number of sensational claims about Syria’s -nuclear reactor at al-Kibar- “secret military pencil factory”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1881/update-from-the-pencil-factory. One of these claims is that Iran financed the facility and North Korea built it.

This is “not a new claim”:http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,561169,00.html, certainly not in the German-language press, where seemingly “unreplicable”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/283/word-of-the-day-geheimdienst “reporting”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1411/irans-scud-stunt on unconventional weapons in the Middle East often seems to crop up. _Sei vorsichtig._

[Update: “Jeff has got ahold of this story”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/2228/ripping-off-ronen-bergman.]

The other thing is a “briefing at the CSIS website”:http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,5337/ suggesting that Israel has conventionally armed ballistic missiles precise enough to knock out Iran’s nuclear facilities. Some of which are deeply buried, lest we forget.

Anything’s possible, right?

I’m going to go out on a limb to say that Israel almost certainly lacks this capability, because if they had it, it’s a very good bet they would have used it by now.

2 thoughts on “Two Stories To Take With A Grain of Salt

  1. b

    Israel may have a few Jericho III with that capability. But about certainly not in the numbers the CSIS report suggests would be needed (30-50).

    Reply
  2. Allen Thomson

    I maintain an agglomeration of factoids on the pencil factory at http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/syria.pdf . Taking a quick look at what the NZZ piece says, it does seem to be just a synthesis of previous reportage.

    And now there’s what appears to be a refutation of the claim of Iranian involvement:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3689418,00.html

    US: Iran didn’t fund Syrian reactor
    Published: 03.19.09, 23:31 / Israel News

    A US Counterproliferation official denied a report saying Iran had
    funded a Syrian reactor that was bombed by Israel in 2007.

    “There is strong reason to believe that only two countries were
    involved in building the Syrian covert nuclear reactor at Al Kibar – Syria and North Korea,” said the official, who spoke on condition of
    anonymity. (AP)

    Reply

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