Bush ‘considered military strike on Syria,’ memoir claims

November 6th, 2010 - 3:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Ehud Olmert London, Nov 6 (ANI): Former US President George W Bush has admitted in his memoir ‘Decision Points’ that he had considered ordering a US military strike against a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Israel’s request in 2007, but ultimately opted against it.

Israel eventually destroyed the facility, which Syria denied was aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.

The memoir, which is scheduled to hit the bookstores on Tuesday, has claimed that after receiving an intelligence report about a “suspicious” well-hidden facility in the eastern desert of Syria,” Bush spoke by phone with then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The Telegraph quoted Olmert, as telling Bush: “George, I’m asking you to bomb the compound.”

Bush discussed options with his national security team. A bombing mission was considered “but bombing a sovereign country with no warning or announced justification would create severe blowback.” A covert raid was discussed but it was considered too risky to slip a team in and out of Syria undetected, he writes.

Bush received an intelligence assessment from then-CIA Director Mike Hayden, who reported that analysts had high confidence the plant housed a nuclear reactor, but low confidence of a Syrian nuclear weapons program, the paper said.

“I cannot justify an attack on a sovereign nation unless my intelligence agencies stand up and say it’s a weapons program,” Bush says he told Olmert.

Olmert was reportedly disappointed at Bush’s decision to recommend a strategy of using diplomacy backed up by the threat of force to deal with Syria over the facility, and added: “Your strategy is very disturbing to me.”

Bush however has denied charges that arose at the time that he had given a “green light” for Israel to attack the installation.

“Prime Minister Olmert hadn’t asked for a green light, and I hadn’t given one. He had done what he believed was necessary to protect Israel,” Bush writes. (ANI)

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