Secrets Revealed of the 2007 Israeli Strike against the Syrian al-Kibar Nuclear Facility
Amidst the plethora of allegations of official leaking of covert ops from the White House and In Jerusalem, there is new book out, Israel versus Iran: The Shadow War co-authored by Jerusalem Post military analyst Yaakov Katz and Yoaz Hendel. With all the news about IDF Unit 8200 on cyber warfare, Stuxnet and Mossad, it is instructive to read this excerpt published in today’s Jerusalem Post. The excerpt contains background on what led to the successful IDF strike that demolished the Syrian al-Kibar nuclear bomb factory in September 2007.
Clare Lopez, V.P. of the Intelligence Summit told us that their research indicated that components/elements of the nuclear reactor may have come from the uncompleted installation of late Saddam Hussein. Iraqi truckers interviewed indicated that the ultimate destination of those shipments in early 2003 was the out in desert on the outskirts Syrian city of Dayr az-Zawr located on the southern banks of the Euphrates River. The information was derived from translations of Saddam Hussein's audio tapes.
The fascinating aspects of this excerpt are the means by which the Israelis acquired the target intelligence and the involvement of the Islamic Republic and its partner the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) in funding and building the al-Kibar nuclear bomb factory. A motivating factor for accomplishing the successful attack was the retrieval of reputation of former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert frequently discredited for his disastrous management of the IDF conduct of the Second Lebanon War in July 2006 against Hezbollah. The book may provide insight in how the IDF might conduct covert ops against Iran’s nuclear program using Israel’s high tech weapon arsenal.
As in other operations by the Mossad, this one – in late 2006 – also began when Unit 8200, the IDF’s Signal Intelligence unit, incidentally intercepted a phone conversation and an electronic reservation a senior Syrian official in Damascus had made in a London hotel.
According to various reports, Israeli and US agencies had tapped the Syrian official’s communication lines since 2002. He had cultivated contacts over the years with North Korea, and his numerous trips to Pyongyang had attracted the attention of the CIA and Mossad.
At this stage though, the existence of a Syrian nuclear program was based simply on speculation and mainly on a number of phone calls between North Korea and a place in northeastern Syria called al-Kibar intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
While antennas at Unit 8200’s base north of Tel Aviv received the Syrian official’s reservation, a group of young agents sitting not far away at Mossad headquarters were busy discussing the Second Lebanon War.
Similar to the rest of the Israeli defense establishment, the Mossad was not immune to public criticism after the war. For two years, Mossad agents had carried out dozens of secret missions and had risked their lives to collect information about Iran and its proxies scattered across the Middle East. They had paid particular attention to the smuggling routes Iran used for its nuclear project and scrutinized the smallest clues related to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ activities in Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere.
Some of this information enabled the Israel Air Force to destroy Hezbollah’s long-range missile arsenal on the first night of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Nevertheless, the intelligence achievements and successful covert operations could not prevent the agents at Mossad headquarters from castigating themselves.
The young men and women in the espionage agency were part of the Mossad’s Caesarea Branch, known for its covert operations overseas. Despite the months that had passed, they were still frustrated for having been “frozen” during the war. All of the men had served in combat units; almost all of them had undergone arduous training. But during the war, the Mossad did not let them enlist with the reserves. “You are too valuable,” explained the head of the department, himself a graduate of an elite IDF unit. “Besides, think about if you were needed for an immediate operation here.”
The war was still on everyone’s mind, and the decision makers were preoccupied with public relations aimed at saving Prime Minister Olmert’s image and with approving operational plans for the army. They pushed the Mossad aside.
The call that came through on the red secure phone startled everyone in the room. On the line was the head of the department, who updated them about the Syrian official’s trip to London. The agents were familiar with the protocol in these situations and immediately set preparations to put a new operation into motion.
Two days later, after studying the Syrian official’s facial features and the layout of the prestigious London hotel where he was supposed to be staying; the agents split up and boarded various planes to different destinations. They would rendezvous at the European capital and wait for their target at the airport and the hotel.
During their last briefing before leaving on the mission, their instructions had strongly emphasized gaining access to the official’s laptop or, to be more exact, the information it contained. Two days after arriving at the hotel, the intelligence operatives had reportedly succeeded in installing a Trojan horse on the computer and gleaning all of its contents.
The hard drive contained construction plans, letters, and hundreds of photos that showed the al-Kibar complex at various stages of its development. In photos from 2002 the construction site resembled a tree house on stilts, complete with suspicious-looking pipes leading to a pumping station at the Euphrates. Later photos showed concrete piers and roofs, which apparently were meant to make the building look inconspicuous from above or as if a shoebox had been placed over the structure to conceal it.
The pictures of the facility’s interior, however, left no room for doubt. The Syrians had built a nuclear reactor.
Despite the signs and speculations during the two years preceding the Mossad’s operation, the agents still found this evidence shocking. No one in Israel’s intelligence establishment had imagined that Syrian president Bashar Assad, who had succeeded his father seven years earlier, had decided to break all known taboos and defy all intelligence assessments to develop a nuclear bomb. Most startling was the advanced stage at which Syria’s program was discovered.
The intelligence community also was taken aback by the discovery that Iran was involved and had provided funding and support so that Syria could build a reactor right across the border from Israel and at a time when the future of Iran’s own nuclear program was so unclear. Officials in the CIA, the Mossad, and the IDF’s Aman scoured old files, searching for clues that they might have overlooked and categorized as insignificant but could now help piece together the Syrian nuclear puzzle.
It was possibly the biggest intelligence discovery since the beginning of the decade. (READ MORE)
But: I would rather that nothing be said publicly at all. We have not yet defeated the Global Jihad; far from it. We are in the middle of a war, a total war that began some 1400 years ago, when the Ummah or Mohammedan Mob declared open and exterminating warfare upon the entirety of humanity, upon all who are not Muslim and who refuse either to become Muslim or become dhimmi slaves of Muslims.
'Loose lips sink ships'. Whenever our various kuffar agencies and states carry out successful ops against Mohammedan military installations - such as this Syrian site - the general public does not need to know how it was done; only key members of our government, our military and intelligence agencies and our police forces, in the strictest confidence, behind closed doors, as at the height of World War II for example. Because the Mohammedans do not need to know anything at all about how we kuffar got the drop on them on this occasion or on that! Let them stew, let them fret, let them spin wild conspiracy theories, and let them sweat and shiver and wonder when the next stunning blow will be delivered like lightning out of a clear sky; let them worry about how and we found out what they were up to... but do not let them know. We should never broadcast our methods of intelligence-gathering or of sabotage, nor publicly anatomise either our successes or our failures, when every word we say in public is being overheard by our mortal enemy - by the Mohammedan jihad gang bosses.
The most deeply satisfying part of the Israeli obliteration of Syria's nuke project was the quite long period of marvellous, echoing silence which immediately followed the assault. The Israelis sat still and said nuthin. The USA sat still and said nuthin'. That silence (except for the barest, flattest public statement - made once we knew the Mohammedan world was getting good and rattled - that we knew the Syrian Muslim [if heretical Muslim] regime had a nuke site, and that we acted because the continued existence of that site was not acceptable to us kuffar nor advisable for the peace of the world) should have been maintained indefinitely.
Post script. I observe that the catalyst for this particular strike was the interception of 'a phone conversation and an electronic reservation [that] a senior Syrian official in Damascus had made in a London hotel".
In a London hotel.
How many other jihadi deals both great and small are being conducted inside the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA...?
Wherever there are Mohammedans, there is jihad in esse or in posse.