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Israel Details how it Destroyed a Syrian Nuclear Reactor in Operation Orchard in 2007

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posted on Mar, 21 2018 @ 05:40 PM
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Though there was never any real doubt, more than a decade later, the Israeli government has finally acknowledged that the country was responsible for destroying a secret Syrian nuclear reactor and declassified a number of details, along with video and images, about the intelligence process and the complex air strike itself. This decision seems to have been a response to a confluence of factors, including the present situation in Syria, renewed debate about Iran’s controversial nuclear program, and domestic political rivalries.

On March 21, 2018, Israel lifted its gag order on official statements about the mission, officially called either Operation Orchard or Operation Soft Melody, but also referred to within the country’s military as Operation Outside the Box. We now know for sure that at least eight aircraft took part, including four F-15I “Ra'am” (Thunder) from the Israeli Air Force’s 69 Squadron and four F-16I “Sufa” (Storm) each from 119 and 253 Squadrons. On the night of Sept. 5-6, 2007, the planes streaked through Lebanon and across nearly the full length of Syria and dropped approximately 17 tons of precision guided bombs on the reactor building, nicknamed “Rubik’s Cube” or just “the Cube,” before heading north and departing the area via Turkish airspace.


www.thedrive.com...


So. They had the cooperation of Turkey.

The US declined to participate even though they thought it was a nuclear reactor.

The Syrians were getting help from North Korea.

And the Israelis are willing to attack again.




posted on Mar, 21 2018 @ 09:31 PM
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Some more from TheDrive...Things are hotting up with Drone engagements..
Drone engagements



posted on Mar, 21 2018 @ 10:48 PM
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Very interesting. No one but the status quo can have nukes. The status quo is always maintained.


a reply to: anzha



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 12:20 AM
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So. They had the cooperation of Turkey.
Turkey did not cooperate with them. They flew along the turkish-syrian border and some external fuel tanks happened to land on turkish soil when they were jettisoned.
'Exiting by way of Turkey' is a invention of thedrive.
There is probablya alot still kept secret with this mission especially about the deployment of Israeli SOF in Syria before and maybe during the raid, but this isnt. Israel even apologized to Turkey after the fuel tanks were found.



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 12:31 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

Interesting. In the past, Turkey and Israel have cooperated. Not recently, mind you, but this might have been important enough.



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 12:39 AM
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Syria? Nuclear power? Seriously?

Hmmmm, howsabout the Samson Option or the Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty Israel refuses to sign?
I think I know who the real rogue state is out there, did Israel buy those US manufactured war planes with the billions the US hands over every year?



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 01:16 AM
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It's probably the case that Turkey turned a "blind eye". There was (and is) no love lost between Syria and Turkey, and it's likely Turkey was happier to see the Syrian nuclear ambitions turned to rubble, than getting off the ground.



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 01:19 AM
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a reply to: anzha

I doubt relations were erver close enough to cooperate operationally on a matter vital to Israels existence.
Back in the day Israeli defense companies had very lucrative deals with Turkey but on the military side there was little going on but the usual intelligence sharing between friendly nations and joint Air Force maneuvers.
I cant think of any known active cooperation on a operational matter. I'm sure there were clandestine efforts for this or that, but with Israel establishing ties with the Kurds and even alledgedly sending SOF and intelligence assets to Kurdistan things were already developing in a different direction.

The entire story with Israel violating Turkish airspace during the mission just came up because of the fuel tanks and Israel very proactivley apologizing to Turkey if a jet accidently penetrated Turkish airspace during the mission. The never apologized for violating it - a crucial difference.
In reality empty fuel tanks can glide a good distance, especially when dropped at high speed and altitude. Not surprising they ended up in Turkey.
The more interesting question is why the dropped tanks in the first place.



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 11:02 AM
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a reply to: Athetos

Basically this. It's OK for Israel to bully the middle East (and, most likely, Europe and the USA) with its nukes, but god forbid any of its neighbors give themselves the same ability.



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 11:06 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

I thought they also did some joint military exercises. It seems they did up through 2009. Turkey cancelled them over Gaza and things have gone down hill since. As I said, it's been a while.



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 12:14 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: mightmight

I thought they also did some joint military exercises. It seems they did up through 2009. Turkey cancelled them over Gaza and things have gone down hill since. As I said, it's been a while.

Yeah that was Anatolian Eagle, another Air Force exercise similar to Red Flag. It's quite common for the Israeli Air Force to train with other Mediterranean nations, it's not an indicator for particulary close ties, especially not for cooperation in the operational realm.



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 01:51 PM
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originally posted by: Barnalby
a reply to: Athetos

Basically this. It's OK for Israel to bully the middle East (and, most likely, Europe and the USA) with its nukes, but god forbid any of its neighbors give themselves the same ability.


Israel doesn't even acknowledge that they have nukes, so how exactly are they bullying anyone with them? When's the last time they used those as a negotiating point? I'll wait.

Thank God they had the balls to take this action. Did the same thing to Iraq in the 80s. I'm surprised they haven't hit Iran's nuclear facilities yet.
edit on 22 3 18 by face23785 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 04:07 PM
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I'm surprised they haven't hit Iran's nuclear facilities yet.


This was actually discussed quite openly in the Israeli press when meetings of the Security Cabinet about it were leaked, mainly by former PM and long time Netanyahu rival Ehud Barak. I think that waswo, three years ago or something.
The Air Force was instructed to make all neccessary preparations for a strike and efforts were greatly intensified after Netanyahu assumed office in 2009. Efforts as in, the Air Force was told to invest billions to build up a operational strike capability. This was no pocket change for them, they really were serious about and it was actually Netanyahu who was the main force pushing for an attack. Eventually these effort resulted in the Air Force being confident that a strike could be conducted.

This opinion however was apparaently not shared by the IDF leadership at the time (Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi) and key political figures, Yaalon and Steinitz, Ministers of Defense and Energy respectivley. This was 2010ish.
The IDF Leadership actually came around as further preparation were made and Benny Gantz succeeded Ashkenazi in the Chief of Staff position.
They weren enthusiastic about it though, merely saying a strike was feasible.

What one needs to understand about the decision making process in Israel is that the Prime Minister doesnt have the same powers as the US President for example. The Prime Minister cant just order the IDF into action, important political decisions about war and peace need to be discussed and voted upon in the Security Cabinet. This is true even in times of war when it comes to operational decisions. See Golda Meirs Kitchen Cabinet in 73 for example. Of couse since Israel doesnt have a constitution this structure is somewhat fluid and changes from Prime Minister to Prime Minister.
Back in 2010-2012 when they were seriously thinking about the strike Netanyahu had estbalished a small security cabinet inside the security cabinet, comprised of some key Ministers and the heads of the IDF and intelligence Services.
Thats less than 10 people in total and they would have to have a majority decision which would be taken to Cabinet to be voted upon.

This never happened because there was no majority for a strike and thus the matter was never brought to the Cabinet (where a majority would have been certain if the inner circle would have proposed a strike).
But as it turned out pretty much everyone on the operational side opposed the strike. The IDF said it was doable but limited, risky and anything but easy, the heads of Mossad and Shin Bet was completely opposed (for various reasons including political animosities), Aman (Military intelligence) didnt like it either.
According to Barak only he, Lieberman and Netanyahu were in favor of the strike. They thought they could at least bring Steinitz an Yaalon around but that didnt happen.
So without a majority in this inner circle this was basically the end of it. Negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal started to ramp up and rhetoric aside, there was zero chance of Israel striking during or after the negotiations.

My personal opinion on this is that from an operational standpoint they lost their window of opportunity long before those final deliberations in 2010-2012. It has never been made public what the IDF considered as a feasible strike option. However ex heads of israeli intelligence have emphatised and issue being debated in the public realm as well - at that point a strike would have set the program back for a couple of years at most. And thats just not worth it, you actually get a very similar effect from the nuclear deal Obama negotiated (which isnt to say that the treaty isnt a desaster).
Back in 2010-2012 there Iranian nuclear program was already too dispersed ant too well protected for an Israel strike to be effective, even if conducted succesfully. In my mind the effects of strike would have been much, much better during the later half of the 2000s, but it looks like Israel wasnt ready at this point, neither politically or military. And when they were ready, Iranians had caught up and were ready to meet them.
I think it was the right call in the end not to strike at that point. Obviously we dont have a fraction of the Information neccessary for an objective answer, but i'm very sceptical about the feasibility of an effective Israeli Strike in first half of the 2010s. Maybe i'm wrong about this but havent looked at pretty much everything thats available on the topic, i simply dont see the IAF being able to generate the sortie rate in Iranian Airspace i think is neccessary to hit at least half a dozen targets with enough firepower to ensure a positive result.
Maybe its doable but the margin of error would be very slim and a hell of a lot can go wrong so far from home.
Going forward of course the picture will change. The F-35Is will to wonders for the Israeli strike capabilities and the question will arise again when (not if) the nuclear deal falls apart.
But alot will depend on the Leadership in Israel at that time. Which probably will change sooner than later as things are going for Netanyahu on the legal front.

edit on 22-3-2018 by mightmight because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 22 2018 @ 04:35 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

That's a lot of interesting info I hadn't heard. I was aware it's not as easy as Netanyahu just saying Go. I just figured maybe the Obama administration talked them out of it or told them if they did it and it escalated into a war that we wouldn't help them.

Just curious, where did you read/hear all that? I mostly agree with your analysis, assuming your information is good. The only thing I don't necessarily agree with is that the best you could hope for is to set their program back a few years. Strictly from a technological standpoint that's true, however there is the additional impact that it sends a major signal to the government of the country you struck that you won't tolerate them developing nuclear weapons and if they try to restart the program it will be a waste of money because you will strike it again, and are even willing to go to war to stop it.

You can certainly argue it's a gamble whether or not Iran's leadership would take such a message. Iraq and Syria did.For the Iraq operation Israel had another advantage in that Iraq was already at war with Iran at the time, so Saddam probably figured he couldn't afford to go to war with Israel then. Strictly from a planning and logistics standpoint, it's definitely easier for Israel to hit a target in Iraq or Syria than it is in Iran. It would also be harder for Iran to hit them back though except for with some missiles.

If you're interested in such things, I read a great book last year, First Strike, about the Israeli strike on the Iraqi nuclear program in the early 80s. It's mostly backstory and the political maneuvering, diplomatic efforts leading up to the strike. The strike itself is only a small portion of the book, but it was still a good read if you're interested in military history and high-level political brinkmanship. Of course, the book is written by a hawkish Israeli author, so there are portions you have to take with a grain of salt.



posted on Mar, 23 2018 @ 01:30 AM
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originally posted by: face23785
a reply to: mightmight

Just curious, where did you read/hear all that? I mostly agree with your analysis, assuming your information is good.

Particularly with stuff like this, just start reading israeli media, they have a good english presence. TOI ynet hayom jpost, haaretz less so.
They are biased as ** of course, but offer details on stuff which western media is only covering in broad strokes. Its already bad in Europe, i imagine its much worse in the US.

This is one original article on strike topic:
www.timesofisrael.com...

Keep in mind, all of this is political to the bone.
Ehud Barak is huge rival of Netanyahu and very opportunistic to say the least. His claims are probably not entirely accurate and you can be sure that he tries to cast himself in the best possible light.
You can read a critical analysis of his leaks here:
www.timesofisrael.com...
But the gist of it was true - the inner circle didnt give Netanyahu a majority for an attack decision to be taken to the Cabinet - as was later confirmed by reports like this: www.jpost.com...



The only thing I don't necessarily agree with is that the best you could hope for is to set their program back a few years. ….


This is certainly valid but the opposite can also be true - the country in question would redouble its efforts.
The fear articulated by the intelligence community in Israel was that Iran would just take the hit, disperse and hide the project entirely. An Israeli strike would mean the loss of any UN oversight over the program and it would subsequently be very hard to Keep up with it. And even if they would find nothing because there is nothing and Iran has truly stopped the program - you could never be sure. Its always possible they have something going somewhere very well hidden.
Essentially you run into a similar problem as the entire Iraqi WMD issue.

Saddam Hussein actually expanded his countries nuclear program after the Israeli strike on the reactor in 81. It was only stopped by the Gulf War in 91 and the crippling sanctions that followed.

And as we know today his chemical program was largely abandoned after Operation Desert Fox in 98. Mainly because they lacked the ability to do so, not because they didn’t want to. But the uncertainty remained, led to the intelligence f*** up and the US invading the country a couple of years later.
We are now seeing the same problem again with Syria, at least in the public realm:
www.spiegel.de...

Imagine how much worse it would be with Iran. Where do you end up with this? Blowing up yet another funny looking barn every Tuesday?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against blowing up their nuclear program, far from it. But I don’t think Israel could do it effectively at this point. It’s a job for the US which has far more suited systems in its arsenal to get the job done. We’ll see what happens but I wouldn’t rule out a confrontation with Iran in the next couple of years. Trump is very impressionable to say the least and has assembled quite a hawkish security team when it comes to this issue. I think there is a very good chance that the nuclear deal will collapse within a year or two. If Israel has a smart leader at the helm at that point they could probably *manipulate* Trump into action. Especially if he gets another term in 2020.



Strictly from a planning and logistics standpoint, it's definitely easier for Israel to hit a target in Iraq or Syria than it is in Iran. It would also be harder for Iran to hit them back though except for with some missiles.


It’s an arithmetic problem in the end. The IAF only has a very finite number of air refueling tankers. There fighter jets are too short legged to reach the targets with sufficient fuel to deal with contingencies without tanker support. They need to carry the heaviest ordnance available to them (BLU-113 on GBU-28 or 37 or some local variant) which cuts into the range. Iran isnt defensless by any means. Their main nuclear facilities are protected by a wide array of air defense systems including S-300. A strike package would have to include a very robust EW and SEAD/DEAD component on top of an air superiority element. If you add it all up the amount of effective sorties they can generate over Iran goes down to a pretty low number. Compare it to the number of facilities and the ordnance you’d need to render them useless its dicey at best.
If they don’t achieve operational surprise and Irans Air Force is ready to meet them it goes straight to hell.

And regardless of what would happen there, a strike against Iran means all out war in the North against Hisbollah and the Iranian assets in Syria at this point. That’s already a very tough job without most of the air force tied up with hitting Iran.
And *some missiles* is somewhat misleading. Iran has build up an impressive arsenal of ballistic missiles which are pretty effective as the 2017 Deir ez Zor strikes showed. Of course Israel has an also impressive missile defense but interceptors are limited and Iran would surely be able to overwhelm that system. If they start bombing Israeli population centers it’ll get messy.

If they try bombing airbases it gets worse from a military perspective. What do you do at that point, sent the Air Force back over Iran to hunt MRBMs? That would end with a lot of shot down airplanes and many captured pilots. Israeli public hates that with a passion.



posted on Mar, 23 2018 @ 01:40 AM
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originally posted by: face23785

originally posted by: Barnalby
a reply to: Athetos

Basically this. It's OK for Israel to bully the middle East (and, most likely, Europe and the USA) with its nukes, but god forbid any of its neighbors give themselves the same ability.


Text When's the last time they used those as a negotiating point? I'll wait.

Thank God they had the balls to take this action. Did the same thing to Iraq in the 80s. I'm surprised they haven't hit Iran's nuclear facilities yet. [

Samson Option.



posted on Mar, 23 2018 @ 01:54 AM
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a reply to: anzha



The Syrians were getting help from North Korea.


This doesn't make any sense to me, why would they need help from NK if they have Russia as their primary ally? Who would know better how to build it, NK or Russia? Did Russia refuse to help, did they ask first or not?

Also, how far advanced was NK back then in nuclear tech? Do they have nuclear reactors on NK? Don't know but i don't think this sounds logical at all



posted on Mar, 23 2018 @ 08:34 AM
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a reply to: mightmight

Good posts, thanks. I'll have to include some Israeli media in my conglomerate of sources. I'm skeptical of everything I read from media, but it's good to take in info from lots of different sources.




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