The Blame Game

Damascus officials were not impressed with the U.S.'s take on Israel's alleged attack on the suspected nuclear installation in northern Syria's Deir ez-Zur region in September 2007.

Syrian officials presented three arguments in an effort to refute the U.S.'s claims. They categorically denied any intention to build a nuclear installation of any kind. They also blamed Washington for allegedly instigating the attack and and participating in it.

According to Damascus, the Bush administration gave the mission a green light to justify its own aggressive policies in the Middle East. Syrian officials quoted an argument raised by a Damascus think tank that Israel itself had announced it did not perceive Syria as a nuclear threat.

Syria, which is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation agreement, announced it would cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headed by Mohamed ElBaradei. But it is unlikely investigators will have access to classified documents about the structure.

The installation itself will not yield any evidence as it is completely demolished. In the absence of clear-cut evidence, Syria will be able to continue claiming that the U.S. and Israel carried out the attack to brand Syria as a member of the "axis of evil," alongside two other nuclear rogues, Iran and North Korea.

Syria's claim that the evidence presented by the U.S. was fabricated is aimed at undermining Washington's credibility, which was greatly diminished after U.S. forces failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - one of the key reasons given for invading Iraq.