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Special Report Roundtable, Syria and Israel

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume

ROBERT GATES, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I'm not going to get into things that may involve intelligence matters, but all I will say is we are watching the North Koreans very carefully, we watch the Syrians very carefully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would we regard that kind of effort both in terms of the Syrians and the North Koreans?

GATES: I think it would be a real problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)


HUME: Well it sure would if Syria were being supplied with nuclear materials, or the elements to build a nuclear bomb by North Korea, that would obviously be a real problem.

So what about this, Charles? Was this raid that was supposedly carried out look to you as if this really was an effort to knock out the beginnings of a nuclear program, or perhaps more?

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes, I think it was. And the reason is that all of my sources in Israel who normally leak profusely won't say or don't know. And if in Israel you don't know, that means it is very closely held, which means it had to have been an extremely important operation, it was not a dry run, it was not a testing of the so called Turkish Corridor.

It was not an attack on a minor target, like an Iranian training facility, or Hezbollah weapons. It had to have been something of high importance, because nobody will talk about it. And that most likely is nuclear.

The reason is there was a North Korean ship which landed three days earlier in Syria with a load of cement. Do you really have to go to North Korea to get cement in the Middle East? And North Korea is one of the few countries in the world who immediately protested.

What is happening here is Iran is activating all of its surrogates. Syria is a major surrogate. Weapons on the Golan Heights, huge amounts of weaponry in the hands of Hezbollah, Hamas attacking Israel in the south, Shiites militias armed by Iranian agents attacking Americans.

All of this is Iran saying "Look, we have assets in the region, we can activate any of them. If you attack our nuclear facilities, we can cause an apocalypse here." This is really serious stuff.

KONDRACKE: The same American sources who usually talk about stuff like this have all clamed up. Nobody is talking.

So, and, interestingly, the Syrians haven't said anything about this. And that is either because Bashar Assad are embarrassed that his air defenses were penetrated so easily, or, more likely, that he was doing something that he doesn't want to admit to, and would involve scrutiny of what was going on.

The other implication of this is if the North Koreans--the North Koreans and we have supposedly just made a deal where they are going to shut down their nuclear facilities and behave themselves, and we are going to give them fuel aid and money as well.

Now, if they start taking their nuclear technology and selling it to enemies of our friends or our enemies, that deal is off, and will be off. And so this has got implications all over the world.

LIASSON: And if had he did that they certainly didn't wait even for a decent interval before they started exporting nuclear material, if, in fact, that is what they did.

But I also think it raises a question about what Israel would do if it felt that Iran was on the verge of getting nuclear weapons capability. They certainly didn't hesitate in the past to hit Iraq. It sounds like they might have just done that in Syria.

HUME: The argument is made that Iran and the terrorists that Iran sponsors and Iran's weapons do not pose any kind of existential threat to the United States.

It seems it me, Charles, that that is not true when it comes to Israel. That does pose an existential threat to little, tiny Israel, doesn't it?

KRAUTHAMMER: And the Iranians have talked about how easy it would be to utterly destroy and wipe out Israel in, essentially, a genocidal act--a few bombs and Israel is gone. It is a very small territory, and all of its population essentially are in the major cities.

Iran is aware of that, and it even speaks about being able to withstand a second strike or retaliatory strike by Israel, saying there are a billion Muslims, and if some of them are lost in this great act on behalf of Islam, i.e. destroying Zionism and the Israeli state, it would be worth it.

That is why the Israelis are concerned. The normal ideas of deterrence which helped us, of course, in the cold war against Russia, Stalin, and China, Mao, would not hold in a situation in which the other side is either openly apocalyptic, welcoming suicide or death, or thinks it can sustain a second strike because it is large, but could actually attack Israel because it is so small.

KONDRACKE: The question is whether the Mullahs, who ultimately run Iran are as crazy as Ahmadinejad, the president. They are the real bosses of the place.

And the Israelis in a second strike could do terrible damage to Iran. I think before the Israelis hit, I think it would be wise to at least think about the deterrence holding--

HUME: One thing this, it would be carried out by a surrogate. It would awfully hard for Iran to hide the fact that it was behind it. That wouldn't--

KONDRACKE: I think if Israel got hit by nuclear weapons, I think Iran would be the natural target, and Israel's nuclear arsenal would be directed at Iran.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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