debkafile: Washington asks Jerusalem to clarify the Israeli dossier on North Korean-aided Syrian nuclear and missile activity presented by Turkish

The New York Times reveals that Turkish officials presented Damascus on Oct. 6, with an “Israeli dossier” on a Syrian nuclear program [which Israeli relayed to Washington before its Sept. 6 air strike]. However Assad “vigorously denied the intelligence and said that what the Israelis had hit was a “storage depot for strategic missiles.”
debkafile‘s sources add: Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan, who presented the Israeli dossier to president Bashar Assad, also delivered his reply to Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in a one-on-one conversation in Jerusalem Oct. 7. Washington is now demanding Israel’s response to Assad’s claim. The purpose of relaying the “Israeli dossier” to Ankara in the first place was to demonstrate that Syrian nuclear activity aided by North Korea potentially menaced neighboring Turkey as well as US regional interests and Israel.
According to the NYT, the debate in the Bush administration is over whether the Israeli evidence points to a Syrian nuclear program that does indeed pose a significant threat to the Middle East and should therefore lead to critical changes in Bush administration policies for the Middle East and North Korea.
Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials argue Israeli intelligence is credible and should cause the United States to reconsider diplomatic overtures to Syria and North Korea, whereas Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice does not believe the intelligence presented so far merits any change in American diplomatic approach. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was cautious about fully endorsing Israel’s warnings that Syria was on the way to a nuclear weapon.
Cheney’s faction is uneasy about the decision to proceed with the supply to North Korea of economic aid in return for disabling its nuclear reactor. They argue that Israeli intelligence shows that North Korea cannot be trusted.
It has long been known that North Korean scientists have aided Damascus in developing sophisticated ballistic missile technology. There is little debate that North Koreans frequently visited the site in the Syrian desert that Israel jets attacked Sept. 6.
A CIA veteran Bruce Riedel told the NYT: “Israel would not have launched the strike in Syria if it believed Damascus was merely developing more sophisticated ballistic missiles or chemical weapons… Those red lines were crossed 20 years ago.”
Another former intelligence official said Syria is trying to develop an airburst capability for its ballistic missiles which would allow warheads to detonate in the air to disperse its contents more widely.
debkafile‘s military sources report this type of warhead is capable of damaging much broader areas than the conventional warhead. In particular, any radioactive materials it contained would scatter and contaminate wide, densely populated urban areas. Of late, US sources have voiced strong suspicions that Syria and Iran have acquired “dirty bombs.”
The question is whether North Korea has been helping Syria build missiles packed with radioactive materials and fitted with an airburst capability to boot.

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