Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only shake you down once a year, but when we do we really mean it. It costs a lot to keep the site afloat, and our growing audience, well over TWO million unique viewers a month, eats up a lot of bandwidth — and bandwidth isn’t free. We aren’t supported by corporate donors, advertisers or big foundations. We survive solely on your support.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

New Yorker Magazine Concocts Case for Bombing Syria

by JOHN W. FARLEY

In the September 17 issue of The New Yorker, David Makovsky has a piece entitled The Silent Strike: How Israel bombed a Syrian nuclear installation and kept it secret Makovsky tells a tale about how Israel took out a Syrian nuclear threat. There is one slight problem: Makovsky’s tale should have been published as “fiction”.  How do I know? I’ve heard this story before.

It is an unquestioned fact that Israel bombed something in Syria back in September 2007. But what was that something? The Israelis claimed that they bombed a Syrian nuclear reactor, but journalist Laura Rozen shot that story down very convincingly. She interviewed Joseph Cirincione, then director of nuclear policy  with the Center for American Progress, who identified the bombed site as a non-nuclear Syrian military base. It’s where Syria stores their missiles, which they buy from Iran and North Korea. It’s not a nuclear reactor or any kind of nuclear installation at all.  Back in 2008, the mainstream media (AP, Tom Jelton of NPR, ABC News) referred to the “Syrian nuclear reactor” as if it were an established fact, when it was actually malarkey.

Back in 2008, I relied on Laura Rozen’s investigative  reporting  and the detective work of antiwar Libertarian blogger Justin Raimondo to produce a piece, Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace, published on CounterPunch.  It’s valuable background reading and a refutation of the Makovsky piece.

What Cirincione told the BBC back in 2007 applies today as well: “This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promoter a preexisting political agenda.”  Cirincione added “If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should.”

It often pays to ask who the “expert” is and where he is coming from.  So who is David Makovsky? He is a Senior Fellow of Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is an offshoot of AIPAC. WINEP is part of the Israel Lobby, but has the public appearance of impartial expertise, compared with the brazen bias of AIPAC. Makovsky was the executive editor of the very hawkish Jerusalem Post for over a decade. Makovsky has co-authored a book on Middle East politics and policy with Dennis Ross, the well-known US diplomat and Israeli shill. Makovsky is very well connected to the Israel Lobby.

With his New Yorker article, Makovsky is building the case for an attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities by Israel and/or the US, by comparing it to a highly fictional account of Israel 2007 attack on a (non-nuclear) military base, which Makovsky falsely claims was a Syrian nuclear reactor. Much of the Israeli ruling class (ex-Mossad directors, generals, politicians) is opposed to attacking Iran, as are Israeli Jews as a whole. The opposition is on pragmatic grounds: well-grounded worry about the consequences of (another) open-ended war. To allay these fears (mainly among Americans, more than Israelis), Makovsky serves up a soothing fairy tale: Israel bombed a Syrian nuke in 2007 and everything turned out OK,  so if Israel bombs Iran it will also turn out OK.

John W. Farley writes from Henderson, Nevada.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyons
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]