Cheney says urged Bush to bomb Syria
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney (L) and former US President George W. Bush
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney has confessed that he pushed former US President George W. Bush to order a military attack on an alleged nuclear site in Syria.
"I again made the case for US military action against the reactor" during a meeting with Bush and his government members in June 2007, Cheney wrote in his memoirs, the New York Times reported Thursday.
"But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, 'Does anyone here agree with the vice president?' Not a single hand went up around the room," Cheney wrote in his book In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.
Instead, the Israeli regime bombed a site in Syria in September 2007.
At least four Israeli fighter planes crossed into the Syrian airspace and launched an attack on what turned out to be a research center that belonged to the regional grouping of the Arab League in the city of Deir ez-Zor in northeast Syria.
The assault caused a significant rise in tensions between the two sides, which are technically at war due to Tel Aviv's 1967 occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights in southwestern Syria.
Damascus denies harboring a nuclear weapons program. It opened up the attacked site to IAEA inspectors in 2008 and has pledged to fully cooperate with the agency regarding the issue.
Tel Aviv has neither confirmed nor denied bombing the site. Bush has, however, written in his memoir, published last year, that the attack took place after he resisted former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's request for Washington to undertake the strike.
The developments come amid Tel Aviv's continued refusal to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Since 1958, when Tel Aviv began building its Dimona plutonium - and uranium - processing facility in the Negev desert in southern Israel, it has secretly manufactured numerous nuclear warheads, thus becoming the sole owner of such weapons in the Middle East.
Former US President Jimmy Carter has attested to the existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal, which he has said includes between 200 to 300 nuclear warheads.
Israel has, however, neither confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear arms under a deliberate policy of 'nuclear ambiguity.'