ABC News reports:
The September Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria had been in the works for months, ABC News has learned, and was delayed only at the strong urging of the United States.
A senior U.S. official said the Israelis planned to strike during the week of July 14 and in secret high-level meetings American officials argued over how to respond to the intelligence.
Some in the administration supported the Israeli action, but others, notably Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice did not. One senior official said the U.S. convinced the Israelis to “confront Syria before attacking.”
Officials said they were concerned about the impact an attack on Syria would have on the region. And given the profound consequences of the flawed intelligence in Iraq, the U.S. wanted to be absolutely certain the intelligence was accurate.
Initially, administration officials convinced the Israelis to call off the July strike. But in September the Israelis feared that news of the site was about to leak and went ahead with the strike despite U.S. concerns.
The report has a certain plausibility. Secretary Rice appears to be fully Bakered. Caroline Glick describes Rice “moving boldly down the rabbit hole.” But does the report make sense when it asserts the adminstration convinced Israel “to confront Syria before attacking”? The Jerusalem Post report includes another unsourced assertion with a possibly satirical edge: Rice “offered to publicly condemn Syria for operating a nuclear facility instead.” It’s an approach that has paid big dividends with Iran, but isn’t that a bit harsh?