Early in September, Israeli F-15s bombed a remote part of the Syrian desert three days after a North Korean merchant ship docked in that country. At first the Israeli press was forbidden to discuss the attack, but hints later emerged in various places, including the United States, that the Israelis had destroyed a Syrian nuclear installation, perhaps one involved with Iran. The Syrians were uncharacteristically quiet about the blatant Israeli violation of their airspace, but the North Koreans protested vehemently. What was going on?
One possibility suggests itself. In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when no evidence of the Iraqi nuclear program was found, a few analysts suggested that the nuclear program had simply been moved across the border into Syria to preserve it. There seems to have been widespread agreement that the Iraqis had a viable bomb design, and that the main barrier to their building a bomb was the absence of fuel in the form of either plutonium or U-235. At one point the Iraqis were using lasers to separate the required uranium isotope, but the facility involved was destroyed by United Nations inspectors.