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Israel's Strike on Syrian Reactor Offers Few Lessons on Iran

In an interview with Jacob Hale Russell, David Makovsky discusses Israel’s 2007 bombing of a Syrian nuclear installation and a potential Israeli attack on Iran's facilities. Makovsky says not to count on the apparent success in Syria repeating in Iran, and expresses concern about the lack of “political intimacy” between the US and Israeli leadership.
This undated image released by the U.S. Government shows a suspected nuclear reactor plant under construction in Syria. The White House on April 24, 2008 broke its official silence on the mysterious September 6, 2007 Israeli air strike. "We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement. The statement came after intelligence officials briefed U.S. lawmakers about the Syrian nuclear facili

In an interview with Al-Monitor, David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute’s Project on the Middle East Peace Process, discussed his report on Israel’s secret 2007 bombing of a Syrian nuclear installation — and what the episode tells us about a potential Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The planning, execution and aftermath of Israel’s bombing of Syria’s Al Kibar reactor five years ago was described in elaborate detail this week by Makovsky in a New Yorker article.

With increasingly heated rhetoric between the US and Israel over Iran, Makovsky is concerned about the lack of “political intimacy” between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “No country is going to give another country an ironclad commitment for a war, nor should it,” Makovsky told Al-Monitor. “The question is, do [Israel and the US] have common yardsticks by which they can gauge Iranian behavior? At what part is the uranium program unacceptable if diplomacy doesn’t work?” Makovsky believes “history will condemn” Obama and Netanyahu if they can’t surpass their differences to determine a common yardstick on Iran.

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