07 Jan 2008

Globalsecurity.org Timeline of 6 September 07 Airstrike Coverage

Globalsecurity.org has a nice timeline of news coverage related to the Israeli airstrike on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility on September 6, 2007. The strike is interesting because of the ‘deafing silence’ and lack of mainstream news coverage that originally surrounded it, although based on the available evidence it may well be looked back on as a defining moment in Middle East geopolitics.

For those who haven’t been keeping track, it appears as though Israeli F-16s, acting with U.S. approval and flying through Turkish airspace (presumably without approval), bombed a facility in Syria which the U.S. and Israel believed contained nuclear-weapons materials. The bombing itself may have been preceded by a covert ground raid to recover evidence sufficient to convince the U.S. of the threat. The alleged nuclear materials, and potentially some personnel killed on the ground, may have come from North Korea, which was one of the few states (besides Syria itself) to vociferously protest.

News coverage has been spotty at best, and it’s only recently that the pieces have been assembled into something approaching a clear picture of what might have occurred. The Globalsecurity.org timeline is interesting because it is essentially meta-analysis of the news coverage, and provides insight not only into the event itself but into the way the event was covered by the press.

On the whole it seems a bit early to tell whether the Spectator’s coverage–which sparked a number of discussions about the increasing use of the phrase “World War Three”–was overwrought or prescient.

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