US Warns Syria of ‘IAEA Action’ Over Site of Israeli Attack

Bush: Olmert Asked Me to Attack That Site

In a speech released today US Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Glyn Davies warned it was “urgent and essential” that Syria agree to more IAEA visits to the Dair Alzour site, threatening IAEA action if they refused.

Dair Alzour was the site of a building attacked and destroyed in 2007 by Israeli warplanes, which officials later claimed was a secretly under-construction gas-graphite nuclear reactor. Syria allowed an inspection and the removal of soil samples from the site, though only trace amounts of uranium were found, not the kind which would be used in a gas-graphite reactor and which IAEA inspectors later conceded they may have tracked into the site themselves.

Then-IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei had chastized Israel for the destruction of the site, and for only telling the IAEA of their suspicions months after they’d bombed the site to the ground and Syria had paved over it. The IAEA has insufficient evidence to conclude what was there, and has continued to request further visits, but Syria has called them a waste of time and so far declined.

President Bush confirmed in his new memoirs that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had told him to attack the site in 2007, but Bush thought better of the attack and its threat to start yet another major war. It does not appear, however, that Bush considered telling the IAEA about the site either, which is supposed to be standard operating procedure for any suspected non-safeguarded site.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.