Analysis: Assad caught red-handed may now go for revenge

US and Israel intelligence experts upgrade the chances of president Bashar Assad retaliating for the Israeli attack, which irreparably damaged the secret nuclear North Korea built for him in eastern Syria – now that the episode is out in the open. debkafile quotes those experts as recalling Saddam Hussein’s burning ambition to hit Israel’s nuclear site at Dimona after Israeli jets smashed Iraq’s French built nuclear reactor in 1981.
Assad will find it hard to avoid avenging his humiliation Thursday, April 24, when America’s top intelligence officials briefing congressional committees laid bare detail after detail of Syria’s nuclear program. They all agreed that it was incumbent on the United States to take further steps against Iran as well as Syria to avert any more developments which endanger the world.
The briefing brought out key data hidden from the public in the eight months since the Israeli raid.
1. It confirmed debkafile‘s October 2007 report that North Korean personnel had built a reactor for the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons in a hidden canyon of of eastern Syria.
2. Israel managed to plant a mole or moles inside the reactor compound capable of producing professional photos from inside the reactor. US lawmakers where shown, for instances, images of a concrete floor with rows of holes ready for the nuclear fuel rods to power the plant.
Assad must have been irked beyond endurance when his most coveted secrets and security were shown to the world as having been blown wide open, when the regime he heads depends for its survival on a battery of secret police and undercover agencies with eyes and ears everywhere.
3. The Israeli raid demonstrated too that Syria’s military establishment has been penetrated as fatally as his clandestine agencies.
4. The congressional briefing will have done more to mar the relations of trust between Tehran and Damascus than any diplomatic or military action. Cracks are inevitable in their strategic pact. It will be hard for Iran to continue to pose as the No. 1 Middle East power after Syria, its foremost ally and military mainstay, exposed its extreme vulnerability.
5. Tehran’s precise role in the Syrian nuclear program is not known, but it was obvious to the American lawmakers listening to the intelligence briefing that Syria would not have built a nuclear reactor with Iran’s knowledge and consent, and that the Syrian plant was designed to be an integral part of Iran’s own nuclear program.
Iran will no doubt have inferred from the disclosures about the Israeli attack on the Syrian reactor and its painful fallout for the Assad regime that its own projects may be subjected to the same fate.
It is a matter of record now that Israel is the only country in the world to have ever destroyed two nuclear reactors in successful go-it-alone, intelligence-backed military operations.

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