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September 13, 2005
Tick Tock, Bashar

America has sent a strong signal to the Assad regime in Damascus that our patience has almost run out on their unwillingness or inability to stop the flow of Islamofascist terrorists into Iraq. The New York Times notes the diplomatic shot across Syria's bow from the US envoy to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad:

Mr. Khalilzad, in remarks to reporters in Washington, made it clear that the United States believed that Syria was providing assistance to insurgents operating in Iraq and that such help might have increased.

Government-controlled Syrian newspapers "glorify the terrorists as resistance fighters," he said. Syrian authorities "allow youngsters misguided by Al Qaeda - from Saudi Arabia, from Yemen, from North Africa - to fly into Damascus International Airport," attend training camps and then cross into Iraq, he contended. ...

"Our patience is running out," said the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad.

This pressure comes at a bad time for the beleagured Assad regime. Not only did the US presence in Iraq and the Gulf force them to heed the calls of the Lebanese to end their long occupation of their western neighbor, but the UN will soon interrogate senior members of the Syrian government about the assassination of Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri, perhaps as early as today. Lebanon arrested four former security chiefs with strong ties to the Assad intelligence corps in the murder, and they may have started talking about their work on Syria's behalf.

The Syrians claim that they have done all they can do to close the border, but no one believes that for a moment. They stand to gain too much through Iraq's destabilization, while a successful Iraqi democracy presents a danger to Assad's grip on power. Not only will a free Iraq (along with a free Lebanon) inspire the dissidents within Syria, the economic power of a stable, united, and prosperous Iraq would quickly eclipse Syria in the region. Lacking the ability to exploit Lebanese resources, Syria will quickly wither into an economic backwater unless it engages in market reforms -- which will also require an end to Assad and his quasi-fascist reign.

The only reason for Assad to stop the insurgent flow into Iraq is the credible threat of American action. However, as the Americans build the Iraqi security forces into a credible army, the Syrians may soon find themselves at the mercy of an Iraqi effort to push back against Assad. He can expect that Kurdish elements would enthusiastically take to that mission, and that the ethnic Kurds in Syria would probably welcome them.

If the Americans want to get serious with Assad, they need to pick a clear target along this line of communication feeding the Zarqawi network -- somthing whose loss will hurt Assad's regime -- and take it out. Make it clear that we will follow the Bush Doctrine. All Assad has left is a couple of good body shots anyway, and he doesn't have the political juice any longer to seriously threaten the US in a confrontation. That will also demonstrate our commitment to the Iraqis, and also to the other regional players who may be tempted into interference with Iraqi progress towards democracy and stability.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 13, 2005 5:59 AM

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» Good News On Syria And Iraq from The Bernoulli Effect
Captain Ed notes that the Bush administration has sharpened its stance on Syria's continued practice of allowing jihadists to cross into Iraq from Syria. Ed cites a New York Times story that reports that US envoy to Iraq Zalmay Khalizad... [Read More]

Tracked on September 13, 2005 10:02 AM

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Due to re-thinking of exactly how I want stuff to go, the main address of this site will be moving over to That is, everything is the same except the extension, .NET ... [Read More]

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