Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Making a Hero of Samir Kuntar/ Syria Raid Evaluated

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Update from AIJAC

July 22, 2008
Number 07/08 #07


Israelis have continued to react to last week's swap with Hezbollah of some live prisoners for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. Many observers, in Israel and abroad, have been particularly horrified by the spectacle of Lebanon making a national hero of child murderer Samir Kuntar, who was released in the deal. This Update features some examples of that reaction.

First up is Canadian history professor Gil Troy, who contrasts the Israeli reception of the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser with Lebanese adulation of Kuntar. Basically, he asks, "How can you welcome a child murderer as a hero?" He says that despite the emotional costs, "Israelis should be proud of this moment of moral clarity - and wary of enemies with such distorted value systems." For his full argument, CLICK HERE.  Israeli comments noting a similar message on the aftermath of the swap are here, here, here and here, while an editorial from the Miami Herald is here. Some partially contrary views come from American academic Daniel Pipes and Israeli academic turned peace activist Yossi Alpher.

Next up is American columnist, Mitch Albom, who writes that "You can take whatever side you like in the Israeli-Palestinian debate. You can argue who is entitled to land and statehood and borders. But you cannot defend the frenzied lovefest that took place for Kuntar in Lebanon." He also parses what Kuntar had to say on his return to Lebanon and what it says about the attitude that drives hero worship for a man who smashed a 4-year-old's head on a rock. For this piece, CLICK HERE.  More on Kuntar's statements in Lebanon, including expressing admiration for Israel's efforts to return the bodies of its soldiers, is here. However, much Arab media has been making fun of the claimed Hezbollah "victory" in Lebanon. Meanwhile, good analysis of the decision of the pro-Western government and its supporters, known as as the "March 14 coalition", to join in the canonisation of Kuntar is here, here, and here.

Finally, Dr. Eyal Zisser, director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv Universityand arguably Israel's top expert on Syria and Lebanon, offers his evaluation of the effects of Israel's raid last September on what has apparently since been revealed as a secret Syrian nuclear facility. Zisser sees the raid as the most important event in Israeli-Syrian relations in many years, restoring the balance of power after the 2006 Lebanon war, and possibly prompting recent Syrian peace moves. Nonetheless, he is pessimistic about any short-to-medium-term peace prospects. For this definitive evaluation of an initially mysterious event, CLICK HERE. Plus, an Israeli academic offers some advice for Syrian President Assad if he really wants peace with Israel.

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A moment of moral clarity

As Lebanese leaders cheer return of a child-murderer, Israel mourns its two soldiers


By Gil Troy
Montreal Gazette, July 18, 2008

How do you welcome a child murderer as a hero?

Depending on the tone, this question becomes an attempt to clarify, or an expression of outrage. Stated calmly, "How do you welcome a child murderer as a hero?" can be a factual question - such as the one that faced Lebanese leaders this week as they proceeded to celebrate the freeing of Samir Kuntar from an Israeli prison, where he had been held since 1979 for murdering 4-year-old Einat Haran, her father Danny Haran, and a policeman.

Stated angrily, "How do you welcome a child murderer as a hero?" is the question Israelis are asking - and the rest of the civilized world should be asking, too.

On the night of April 22, 1979, Kuntar, working with three other terrorists, took Danny and Einat hostage, marching them to the Mediterranean beach after seizing them in their home in the coastal city of Nahariya. After shooting Danny in front of his daughter, then drowning him to make sure he was dead, Kuntar turned on Einat. Swinging his rifle butt, he smashed the 4-year-old's head against the rocks, until she too died.

Adding to the horror, Einat's mother, Smadar, hiding in a crawl space, accidentally smothered 2-year-old Yael Haran while trying to stifle her whimpering.

Any civilized court of law would hold the attackers responsible for the toddler's death, too. Judging by the euphoria in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories this week, by the terrorists' barbaric, topsy-turvy immoral logic, the additional carnage enhances Kuntar's heroic status.

Of course, this kind of language is terribly impolite. We Westerners are not supposed to call ourselves "civilized" and deem others "barbaric." For decades now we have been told that such terms are too judgmental, too culturally-determined, too imperialistic, too arrogant.

We have been so sensitized and issues have become so relativized many of us have lost our moral bearings. We have to call Kuntar a "militant," a "fighter" but not a "terrorist." We are supposed to explore Kuntar's motivations.

And besides, whatever his motives, we are expected to excuse his crimes by pointing to equally heinous Western sins, or the religious-cultural-nationalist foundations for his actions.

And yet, occasionally, illuminating moments of moral clarity shine through the haze of amoral theorizing that emanates from our finest campuses, that is disseminated by our most technologically sophisticated media. We all witnessed such a moment this week with Israel's heart-breaking prisoner exchange.

As the two coffins bearing the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser arrived in Israel from Lebanon, the nation of Israel plunged into mourning. These two young men became the entire country's collective children. Strangers who had never met either of them wept bitterly, sharing the pain of the family and the friends, remembering other losses, fearing more tragedies in the future.

By contrast, the massive celebrations in Lebanon for Kuntar and four other terrorists revealed not only the thuggery of Hezbollah but the descent of Lebanon itself. Rolling out the red carpet for a murderer, dispatching the country's top leaders to greet someone who crushed a 4-year-old's skull, declaring a national day of celebration, revealed just how thoroughly the Lebanese leadership had succumbed to the brutal sensibilities of Hassan Nasrallah and his Hezbollah terrorists.

At first glance, it is easy to conclude that the country that is mourning lost this week and the country celebrating won. In fact, Israel won a great moral victory. Israel showed why Westerners should and will support the Jewish state, empathize with the Jewish state, identify with the Jewish state.

We want to side with the country that moves heaven and Earth to bring its boys home, to protect its citizens; not with the country of bloodthirsty mobs deifying cowards who smashed the skull of a 4-year-old girl with a rifle butt on a lovely Mediterranean beach. We learn about a people by observing whom they love and whom they hate. Joy is fleeting and often triggered by base instincts. Sometimes collective anguish is a sign of moral strength, not national weakness.

"I'm proud to belong to those who love and not to those who hate," Ofer Regev said while eulogizing his brother Eldad. Israelis should be proud of this moment of moral clarity - and wary of enemies with such distorted value systems. Israel's - and the West's - enemies are wrong.

A nation that risks so much even just to bring two corpses home, a country that celebrates life not death, is not only a worthy ally - but a dangerous adversary when provoked.

Gil Troy teaches history at McGill University.

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Israel-Hizballah trade reveals much about both sides

BY MITCH ALBOM


Detroit Free Press,  July 20, 2008

It was a ghastly trade, flesh and blood for two boxes of bones. Many criticized it. Some could not bear to watch it. But if anything showed the difference between Israel and Hizballah in last week's exchange of two dead Israeli soldiers for five live prisoners and 199 corpses, it was not the trade itself. 

It was the reaction.

In Israel, where the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev arrived in black coffins, the mood was, according to reports, somber and mournful. Candles were lit. Prayers were recited. These two young soldiers, both students and reservists at the time, were captured in a cross-border raid two years ago by Hizballah guerrillas, setting off a small war that left 160 Israelis and 1,000 Lebanese dead.

Because the Israeli military vows to never leave a soldier on the battlefield, negotiations were held to get the two men back, even though most believed they were dead. Hizballah, which captured the two men to use them as bargaining chips, held firm to its demand that Israel free several prisoners, including Samir Kuntar.

Not Kuntar, many Israelis said. He was serving life sentences for murdering three people in 1979: a police officer, a civilian named Danny Haran and Haran's 4-year-old daughter, whose head Kuntar smashed on rocks and with his rifle butt. Haran's wife, hiding her other baby from Kuntar, covered her mouth to stop her whimpering. The child suffocated.

Kuntar's killings were regarded in Israel as the most brutal form of terrorism. The thought of freeing him went against every fiber of justice.

But last week, after almost 30 years behind bars, Kuntar was allowed to go by the Israeli authorities. And on Wednesday, he walked down a red carpet in Beirut and was kissed by the Hizballah leader and cheered like a rock star.

"Samir! Samir!" the crowd reportedly yelled.

This for a man convicted of smashing a child's head into pieces.

Nothing to celebrate

You can take whatever side you like in the Israeli-Palestinian debate. You can argue who is entitled to land and statehood and borders.

But you cannot defend the frenzied lovefest that took place for Kuntar in Lebanon, as if he were some long-lost statesmen, instead of a common murderer who did the worst thing you can do: take the life of a child. What religion condones that? What holy book says that is a good thing? A banner in Beirut, according to the New York Times, read "God's Achievement Through Our Hands."

What God would have a child's murder on anyone's hands? How do people celebrate such a killer? Is it because the little girl was Israeli -- and Israel is the enemy? Since when does a 4-year-old know of politics or war? Is it because Arab children get killed by Israelis? Yes, children undeniably die in bombings -- on both sides. But an Israeli soldier who deliberately smashed a child's head on a rock should -- and likely would -- be tried as a criminal, not cheered like a hero.

The total disregard for life of anyone who does not believe what Hizballah believes stands in stark contrast to the value of life -- and even of its demise -- that Israel demonstrated in bringing those two bodies back. The families of Goldwasser and Regev were able to put their sons in the ground, to say good-bye, to end the wondering. That small act meant something to the government, which voted on the exchange. In the midst of the never-ending conflict Israel faces, that says an awful lot.

Killer vows return

Meanwhile, here is what Kuntar said to the cheering crowd: "I return from Palestine only to go back to Palestine. I promise families in Palestine that we are coming back, me and my brothers in the resistance."

You'll note he never says the word "Israel." To men like Kuntar, Israel does not exist and should never exist. He and the terrorist group that freed him (and you can install Hizballah into all the government seats you want, a terrorist group is still a terrorist group) want a world in which Israel has no place. The Jews should be driven into the sea.

With a philosophy like that, it may be hard to expect remorse. But if you can justify Hizballah calling a national holiday to cheer home a child murderer, there is no talking to you. There is only mourning -- as there was over two coffins last week -- for a world in which such things and such thinking can take place..

 

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An Israeli Watershed: Strike on Syria

by Eyal Zisser

Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2008, pp. 57-62

On the morning of September 6, 2007, Israel Air Force (IAF) planes penetrated deep into Syrian airspace and attacked a nuclear facility near the town of Dayr al-Zur in the northeastern part of the country. In an almost unprecedented fashion, the Israeli government and military refused to confirm the involvement of Israeli aircraft, the target, or the raid's success, with the first report of the operation coming from Damascus.[1] The lack of disclosure from Israel has been in inverse proportion to the raid's importance, which effectively called Bashar al-Assad's bluff. Since the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, Assad had created a sense of fear that threatened to limit the Israeli military's options regarding Syria. After a decades-long status quo between Damascus and Jerusalem, Israeli leaders found themselves on the defensive. The strike on this suspect nuclear facility restored the status quo ante, and by doing so, Israeli leaders revealed Bashar's strategic weakness. While diplomats praised Bashar's restraint and maturity, his inaction undercut the image he sought to project. Despite his bellicose rhetoric, Assad feared a confrontation with Israel and was not prepared to pay the price of a conflict. Nevertheless, Damascus's covert flirtation with nuclear technology suggests Assad has not moved beyond rashness and that his judgement remains poor.

Syria: Calling for Peace, Preparing for War

On August 15, 2006, the day after a cease-fire ended fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Assad claimed victory for himself and Syria.[2] The Israeli military had failed to achieve Jerusalem's stated aims: a return of the Israeli soldiers seized by Hezbollah and an end to Hezbollah's ability to fire rockets into northern Israel.[3] While the Syrian military had not participated directly in the fighting, Damascus did not conceal its support for Hezbollah. In a speech before the Fourth Annual Conference of the Syrian Journalists Union in Damascus, Bashar declared that he viewed the results of the battles as an important, and even historic, victory of the Hezbollah organization:
When we declare that we have chosen the path of peace and that peace is for us a strategic choice, this does not mean that we are renouncing all the other options. On the contrary, the more distant peace becomes, the more there is a need to seek other paths and solutions with the aim of regaining what is rightfully ours. Resistance in all its various forms is the alternative for regaining our rights.[4]


With a tone more forceful than in years past, Assad gave Israel the option of peace or confrontation: Either Israel could withdraw from the Golan Heights to the shores of the Sea of Galilee or risk a war of attrition on the Golan Heights similar to what Israel experienced with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.[5]

Assad's strident declarations raised questions about what operative conclusions he had drawn. His statements suggested that he believed that the "Israeli demon" was not so terrible. Hezbollah's missiles deterred Israel for years and, even when Israel did engage Hezbollah, they forced Israel to curtail the conflict without achieving Jerusalem's declared goals. Assad might conclude that Syrian missiles, more advanced than Hezbollah's arsenal,[6] could achieve the same effect should the Syrian regime sponsor a Hezbollah-like campaign on the Golan Heights. Syrian officials speaking to Western diplomats in Damascus even hinted that the possibility of all-out warfare might not restrain Bashar any longer.[7] While Hezbollah rained rockets on Haifa, Damascus possessed an arsenal including Scud-C and Scud-D missiles with respective ranges of 250 and 375 miles, capable of striking the entirety of Israel.[8]

Assad's threats, even if coupled with declarations of readiness to resume peace negotiations, received broad public exposure in the Syrian media. Senior Syrian officials amplified them in subsequent interviews, and columnists and political commentators repeated them in state newspapers, on the radio, and on television.

An August 16, 2006 editorial in the state-run Ath-Thawra daily declared that "just as Hezbollah fought against Israel, so will the Syrian people fight on the Hermon and at Mas'ada and Majdal Shams."[9] On September 4, 2006, Radio Damascus broadcast a political commentary in which it was declared that "the resistance option is available if the enemy refuses to return the land of the Golan."[10] The following month, Sulayman Haddad, a member of the Syrian People's Assembly, declared that "Israel understands only the language of resistance, and therefore it must understand that the bitter experience it suffered with the Lebanese resistance is liable to be repeated on the Golan Heights front if Israel continues its occupation of the Golan. It must understand," he added, "that we will do this, not because we love war, but because Israel is pushing us to the wall."[11] Then, on December 7, 2006, Syrian deputy foreign minister Faysal al-Miqdad declared in a speech to students at the University of Aleppo that "it must be understood that the patience of the Syrian people is running out" with regard to Israeli possession of the Golan.[12]

Syrian officials transmitted the same message to Arab and foreign journalists in Damascus. Syrian vice president Faruq al-Shar'a told the BBC, "Syria will do everything in its power to return the Golan Heights to its hands although it prefers to do this by means of negotiations for peace."[13] On July 13, 2007, the Qatari newspaper Al-Watan reported, "Syria has learned the lesson of the Lebanon war, so that if the peace negotiations with Israel are not renewed, then Syria will turn to adopt the option of resistance."[14] Senior Syrian officials told The New York Sun that Syria might establish a guerrilla organization to attack Israeli towns on the Golan and might rocket Israel Defense Forces positions there.[15] Such talk prepared Syrian public opinion for the possibility of confrontation with Israel.

Indeed, on June 26, 2006, during a ceremony commemorating the 1974 return of the border town of Qunaytra seized during the previous year's war, Syrian officials announced the establishment of the Popular Resistance Committees for the Liberation of the Golan Heights.[16] Media reports in Israel mentioned these committees in connection to several incidents, such as setting fires and blocking roads in the Golan. It is doubtful that these committees have any connection to events, however, and appear to be little more than storefronts in Damascus for issuing propaganda communiqués.[17]

Both the Syrian and Israeli militaries, meanwhile, readied for the possibility of renewed conflict with fortifications, rearmament, and robust training exercises.[18] With tensions so high, Israeli as well as Western analysts and journalists worried that any small incident might ignite a war.[19] What if a Syrian-supported terrorist group staged an attack in Israel, assuming that the Jewish state would not retaliate as it had in Lebanon because of Syrian missile deterrence? It was just such a flawed assumption that led Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to order his men to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in July 12, 2006, sparking that summer's war.[20]

Until 2006, Israeli strategists calculated that they had room to maneuver against Syria. Israeli warplanes had buzzed Assad's palace twice, in August 2003 and June 2006, in response to actions by Syrian-backed terrorists. In October 2003, IAF planes attacked a deserted Palestinian training camp at ‘Ayn al-Sahab, 6 kilometers northwest of Damascus, after Palestinian Islamic Jihad, headquartered in Damascus, killed twenty-two Israeli civilians at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa. Israeli officials would not have conducted such operations had they believed a hot war would result. The 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war suggested that neither state had significant room to maneuver—that amid bellicose rhetoric, any spark might lead to conflagration. But, as Amos Yadlin, head of the Israel Defense Forces' Directorate of Military Intelligence, commented, the September 2007 raid restored Israeli deterrence vis-à-vis Syria.[21]

Israel's Air Raid

It was against such a backdrop that the IAF carried out its raid. Officially, Israeli spokesmen refrained from saying anything, perhaps to avoid humiliating Assad in such a manner that might force him to respond and provoke an all-out war. On September 19, twelve days after the strike, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the IAF had raided a site in Syria and that he had congratulated Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the success of the operation.[22] Later, the Israeli military censorship board gave permission to all the media in the country to talk about the operation as a confirmed fact without having to state that their reports were based on Western sources, as previously required.[23]

Syria decided for its own reasons to publicize the attack. Perhaps Assad preferred not to wait for Israel to make an announcement as had happened in the past. Inconsistency in Syrian statements, though, intensified the mystery surrounding the strike. The Syrian military spokesman published a statement confirming that Israeli aircraft had penetrated Syrian airspace but said that they had been driven out by Syrian air defense units and forced to drop their bombs over unpopulated territory.[24] Several days later, Syrian foreign minister Walid Mu'alim denied that the intruding Israeli planes had attacked any targets inside of Syria.[25] The admission that the Israeli planes had indeed attacked something in Syria came in the end from Assad. He told the BBC that Israeli aircraft had attacked an "unused military building" but refused to say why he thought Israel would attack a target of "no value."[26] Ten days later, he told a Tunisian newspaper that the Israeli planes had targeted, "a military installation in the process of being constructed, and [so] there were no military personnel or other persons in it, either before or during the time of the bombing."[27]

The Syrians could not have failed to notice the lack of international support for Syria. Even more problematic for Damascus was the lack of any Arab support, let alone solidarity. Every Arab country, without exception, chose to ignore the Israeli operation. The only leader Assad called after the attack was Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,[28] whereas the Israeli prime minister contacted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II to discuss the incident.[29]

Indeed, the only cause for concern for the Turkish government was the possibility that Israeli aircraft may have violated Turkish airspace on their way to their target—but a few days later, Ankara announced that it was satisfied with Israeli explanations.[30]

The U.S. and British media speculated initially that the operation was a dry run for a possible attack on Iran or that it was meant to intercept advanced weapons systems being transported overland to Hezbollah.[31] Reports soon emerged that the target was a nuclear facility being built with North Korean aid.[32] On April 24, 2008, this was confirmed by the U.S. government. Whatever the truth, it is clear that Jerusalem considered it imperative to destroy the target with the utmost speed. In response to Western allegations, Assad said he did not seek nuclear weapons and that, in 2001, he rejected an offer from middlemen answering to rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadir Khan out of fear that it was an Israeli entrapment operation.[33]

It is plausible, though, that Assad had changed his mind. For more than three decades, Damascus and Pyongyang have enjoyed intimate relations. It was North Korea that, following the Soviet lead, supplied Syria with advanced missiles and, later, with technology to enable Syria to improve significantly its arsenal of long-range ground-to-ground missiles.[34] The experience of both North Korea and Libya shows that small, backward states can procure nuclear arms if they set that objective as a top priority. Perhaps the only reason Libya is not a nuclear state today is because Libyan strongman Mu'ammar Qadhafi believed the U.S. military might launch a preemptive strike on his regime.[35] Committed by its own diplomacy to cease nuclear work at Yongbyon, the North Korean regime may have looked favorably upon the opportunity to simply outsource its research and development.

Assad may also have decided that he wished to gain the immunity that nuclear weapons provide to any regime holding them. U.S. forces ousted Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq but offered concessions to North Korea in the face of the Hermit Kingdom's nuclear defiance. Assad may feel his regime faces regional if not international threats to its stability to which nuclear weapons could be an antidote. He may have alluded to this in the wake of the Israel-Hezbollah war when on August 15, 2006, he declared, "When we strengthen the resistance, our aim is to achieve peace, and not to advance war. The way to advance peace is by means of deterrent power that will enable us to prevent aggression against us."[36] He later told the German magazine Der Spiegel, "As far as I myself am concerned, I do not believe in war. But I do believe in deterrence, that is, in the principle of deterrence."[37] Such a policy would be a natural continuance of his father's attempts to achieve strategic balance between Israel and the Arab states. While Hafez al-Assad may have conceived this balance in terms of conventional military strength, by the beginning of the 1990s, he had adjusted his strategy to achieve parity based on a balance of terror—that is, Damascus strived to equip itself with unconventional weapons, such as chemical weapons.[38]

As time passed, it became clear that Bashar al-Assad had no interest in a flare up, let alone war. The Syrian leader told the BBC, "When we say to respond or to repay [Israel for its aggression], we do not necessarily mean to send a missile for every missile or a bomb for every bomb. We have our own ways of responding, for example, a political response, or perhaps a response by other means and in other ways. It is clear that it is our right to respond, but if we respond militarily, then we will be acting in accord with the Israeli agenda, which we are not interested in doing."[39] Seldom do Arab statesmen forget slights; it is possible that Assad will seek to attribute a future transgression to revenge.

Conclusions

The September 2007 IAF raid may well be the most formative event of recent years in Israeli-Syrian relations. Jerusalem surprised Assad and compelled him to recognize that the Israel-Hezbollah war had not changed the strategic balance as much as he believed. Not only had Israeli forces reached deep into Syria, but Jerusalem had also won diplomatically by focusing international attention on Syrian nuclear intentions. First, exposure of his nuclear adventurism cancelled any plaudits Assad had won for maturity and judgment; second, the raid exposed Assad's posturing to be false, not only for his domestic Syrian constituency but also for Arab and Islamic states.

Quite a few Israeli observers have claimed that one of the results—even if indirect—of the IAF attack in September was Syria's decision to participate in the Annapolis peace conference in November 2007.[40] Still, the dynamic between Syria and Israel remains negative. In the absence of any genuine prospects for a peace process, and despite the temporary relaxation of tensions between the two countries, it would seem that their relations will continue to be marked by accumulating tension, military preparations, and forecasts of war—if not in the spring, then in the summer, and if not in 2008, then in 2009.

Eyal Zisser is the director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.

[1] SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency), Sept. 6, 2007.
[2] Bashar al-Assad speech, Aug. 15, 2006, SANA, Aug. 15, 2006; Tishrin (Damascus), Aug. 15, 2006.
[3] "Winograd Commission Interim Report," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Apr. 30, 2007; Ha'artez (Tel Aviv), May 18, 2007.
[4] Radio Damascus, Aug. 15, 2006; Tishrin, Aug. 16, 2006.
[5] Ibid.
[6] See, for example, The New York Sun, July 8, 2007; Ephraim Kam, "The Impact of the War on Arab Security Concepts," in Shlomo Brom and Meir Eliran, eds. The Second Lebanon War: Strategic Perspectives (Tel Aviv: The Institute for National Security Studies, 2007), pp. 197-208.
[7] The New York Sun, July 8, 2007
[8] Alon Ben David, military correspondent, report on the Syrian missile arsenal, Channel 10, Israeli television, Aug. 13 2007; Elaph (London), June 25, 2007; "Syria," Institute for National Strategic Studies, The National Defense University, Washington, D.C., May 16, 2007; "Jane's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Profile: Syria," Jane's, Nov. 3 2006.
[9] Ath-Thawra (Damascus), Aug. 16, 2006.
[10] Radio Damascus, Sept. 4, 2006.
[11] Radio Damascus, Oct. 11, 2006.
[12] SANA, Dec. 7, 2006.
[13] BBC Radio (Arabic service), May 4, 2007.
[14] Al-Watan (Qatar), July 13, 2007.
[15] The New York Sun, July 8, 2007.
[16] SANA, June 26, 2006; Al-Hayat (London), June 27, 2006.
[17] Ha'aretz, Feb. 14, 15, 2007.
[18] Ha'aretz, Dec. 22, 2006; Ma'ariv (Tel Aviv), Dec. 29, 2006; Anthony H. Cordesman, "Israel and Syria: The Military Balance and Prospects of War," Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Aug. 15, 2007.
[19] Ha'aretz, Dec. 22, 2006; Ma'ariv, Dec. 29, 2006.
[20] Ha'aretz, Dec. 22, 2006; Ma'ariv, Dec. 28, 2006.
[21] Yedi'ot Aharonot (Tel Aviv), Sept. 17, 2007.
[22] Channel 1, Israeli television, Sept. 19, 2007; Ha'aretz, Sept. 20, 2007.
[23] Ha'aretz, Oct. 3, 2007.
[24] SANA, Sept. 6, 2007.
[25] SANA, Sept. 17, 2007.
[26] BBC News International, Oct. 1, 2007; Tishrin, Oct. 2, 2007.
[27] Ash-Shuruq (Tunis), Oct. 11, 2007.
[28] SANA, Sept. 9, 2007; Al-Hayat, Sept. 10, 2007.
[29] Yedi'ot Aharonot, Sept. 9, 14, 2007.
[30] Ha'aretz, Nov. 9, 12, 2007.
[31] CNN, Sept. 11, 2007; "Hisad al-Yum," Al-Jazeera, Sept. 10, 11, 2007.
[32] The New York Times, Oct. 25, 2007; The Washington Post, Oct. 19, 2007.
[33] Die Presse (Vienna), Dec. 19, 2007.
[34] Michael Eisenstadt, "Syria's Strategic Weapons Programs," The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, PolicyWatch, no. 1288, Sept. 20, 2007.
[35] Charles Krauthammer, "Bush's ‘Axis of Evil,' Six Years Later," The Washington Post, Dec. 21, 2007.
[36] SANA, Aug. 15, 2006.
[37] Der Spiegel, Sept. 24, 2006.
[38] Moshe Maoz, Assad: The Sphinx of Damascus (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988), pp. 173-92.
[39] BBC News International, Oct. 1, 2007.
[40] Ha'aretz, Nov. 27, 2007; Yedi'ot Aharonot, Nov. 30, 2006.


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