Israel Destroyed Syria's Nuclear Potential. What Would The World Look Like Now If They Hadn't?

(Newsweek) Yaakov Katz - Meir Dagan, the renowned and feared head of the Mossad took a seat on the couch in the West Wing of the White House. Vice President Dick Cheney settled into a large blue wing chair to his right. Not one for small talk, Dagan got straight to the point."Syria is building a nuclear reactor," the Mossad chief said in his thick Israeli accent. "For Syria to have a nuclear weapons program, to have a nuclear weapon, is unacceptable." Dagan then pulled the first folder out of his bag and spread dozens of color photos on the coffee table. Cheney lifted one. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and his deputy, Elliott Abrams, took another. They could clearly make out a concrete building under construction, with some large pipes being installed inside. There was nothing yet that showed the building to be a nuclear reactor. It didn't have the typical dome or smokestacks, the trademarks of nuclear facilities. "That is the nuclear reactor," Dagan told the group. It was a gas-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor, he explained, used to produce plutonium, and was being built as an almost exact replica of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in North Korea. The concrete building on the exterior was a facade to hide what was really inside. The Americans were speechless. Cheney, Hadley and Abrams just watched and listened as Dagan explained in detail what the pictures showed. In one, two men posed in front of the concrete structure. One of the men, of Asian ethnicity, was wearing a blue tracksuit. The man he was standing next to, Dagan said, was Ibrahim Othman, head of Syria's Atomic Energy Commission. Dagan then showed his hosts another photo. It was the same Asian man, although this time he was wearing a tailored suit and tie. From their intelligence experience, the Americans knew what they were seeing. It was a photo taken at a recent meeting of the Six-Party Talks, the negotiations America and other Western superpowers were conducting with North Korea in an effort to stop its rogue nuclear program. The man in the photo, Dagan said, was Chon Chibu, one of the scientists in charge of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. The news was earth-shattering. Until then, there was no evidence in the U.S. intelligence community to support what Dagan was claiming. Not a clue. Excerpt from the new book, Shadow Strike, by Yaakov Katz.

2019-05-27 00:00:00

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