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The Hush-a-Boom

September 24th, 2007 - 12:15 pm

The Strange Case of the Bombing that Never Happened gets stranger each day. Former US Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross reports while no one, anywhere admits anything too untoward took place

it appears, something did. The sketchy reports that have emerged, again all citing anonymous sources in Israel or in the intelligence community here, are that Israel took out a facility in northern Syria in which North Korea was helping Syria develop a nuclear capability. The absence of leaks coming out of Israel lends credence to the reports. Israel used to be one of the best keepers of secrets. Excluding this episode, it has become one of the worst. Everything seems to leak–and not in drips, but in torrents. (Once when I was negotiating, the Israeli prime minister at the time insisted on a one-on-one meeting with me because, he told me, this was the only way he could ensure that nothing would leak out of the meeting. He wasn’t concerned with my side, but his.)

So the Israelis, for the first time in years, find exactly one thing they’re not going to leak all over the place. The White House, (mixed metaphor alert!) never a watertight ship in lame duck season, isn’t saying anything either. And the Syrians, always quick to announce their mighty mightiness, aren’t claiming any great victories.

What gives?

Even stranger: Ross thinks, entirely counter-intuitively, that Damascus might be eager for war with Israel. His argument makes sense, in a weird, twisted, only-in-the-Mid-East kind of way. Read the whole thing — you’ll feel both smarter and more confused afterwards.