Sherlock Holmes and the Syrian WMD Program

Sherlock_holmesReporter Hugh Naylor of the NY Times describes a media tour of Deir Ez-Zour where Syrians not only deny any WMD program, they also deny Israel even attacked the site:

On Monday, journalists toured the agricultural center at the government’s invitation to prove, Mr. Mehdi said, that no nuclear weapons program or Israeli attacks occurred there. “The allegations are completely groundless, and I don’t really understand where all this W.M.D. talk came from,” Mr. Mehdi said, referring to weapons of mass destruction.

“There was no raid here — we heard nothing,“ he added.

(The Times also refers to an important YNet News report by Ron Ben-Yishai, who snuck into Syria. More on that here.) Naylor’s report contradicts this assessment by BBC correspondent Jonathan Marcus:

In one of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes’ most famous cases, the crime was solved by a vital clue – the dog that did not bark in the night.

And in the real-life drama of the Israeli Air Force’s raid on a target in Syria last month, there are two particular “dogs” that have not barked.

For all of its protests the Syrian government has done as little as possible to play up the incident.

There have been no trips for journalists to visit the bomb craters, no orchestrated campaign to condemn Israel for what in any other circumstances would be seen as an unwarranted act of aggression.

Whatever happened in Deir Ezzour, it doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out that Syria’s floundering P.R. is only destroying whatever credibility Bashar Assad has left.