Belmont Club

Stories

The word ‘rumor’ can refer to “a soft low indistinct sound” or “a statement or report current without known authority for its truth”. Here’s an interesting story from the Epoch Times — and it may be just a story — about how the West and Israel are trying to split Syria away from Israel in order to head off some kind of nuclear plot in the Middle East.

London—MI6 has established that secret backroom meetings at the Mediterranean Nations summit in Paris early in July could lead to a dramatic shift of power in the Middle East. … At the end of one meeting, Alon Liel, a former director of Israel’s foreign ministry, confirmed Israel had been engaged in “low-key second-track discussions for many months” with Syria. …

Both the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni–herself a former Mossad officer–sat alongside their Syrian counterparts, President Assad and his foreign minister, Walid al-Muallim.

Publicly, Olmert acknowledged that the time was “fast approaching for direct talks”.

What prompted this dramatic change between two old enemies was that at the backroom meetings the intelligence chiefs learned for the first time precise details of the raid in September last year on Syria’s factory processing weapons grade plutonium.

The hitherto untold story of that raid is as dramatic as any of Israel’s previous daring and successful military strikes.

The account is full of tantalizing and hard-to-confirm detail which usually indicates an attempt to convey an impression by appealing to our imaginations. But what do they want us to imagine? Two lines of speculation will probably emerge. The first is that the story is there to give the impression of some secret justification for a possible Israeli peace deal with the Arabs, something we know is being pushed. The second possibility is that there really was a WMD program in the region, or threads of it, whose bits and pieces are now resurfacing now that GWB, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, is discredited. But if there really was a Wolf, what better time to return to the sheepfold than upon the accession of the One?

I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over this dramatic account of mystery and danger in the Middle East, but I think it is worth keeping an eye open for developments the region which are likely to be interesting in reality, story or no story.