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While the US focuses on Iran as a fomenter of the violence wracking Baghdad and its environs, Iraqi officials have begun pointing west instead east as an explanation. After the worst single bombing in the last four years took 135 lives yesterday in a Shi'ite section of the capital, an Iraqi official angrily accused Syria of allowing "Saddamists" to flow freely across the border:
A senior Iraqi official has said half of all insurgent attacks in Baghdad are carried out by militants from Syria. Ali al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi government has provided Damascus with evidence to back up this claim. ...
Speaking on al-Arabiyah television, Mr al-Dabbagh said many of the insurgents emanated from neighbouring Syria.
"Fifty per cent of terrorism enters Iraq from Syria, and we have evidence" to prove that, the Associated Press news agency reported.
"The Interior Ministry and the Ministry of State for National Security gave them [the Syrians] evidence about those who are conspiring and are sending car bombs. We gave them the numbers of their apartments and the buildings where they live," he said.
If the Iraqis really do have that kind of intelligence and they have confronted Syria about it, then perhaps it is time for the Coalition to raise the temperature a bit with Syria. There seems to be some indirect corroboration for what Dabbagh says. The Iraqis last week halted flights to and from Syria and started closing some border crossings, in what had been analyzed as preparation for the surge strategy. However, it may have had more to do with unmet demands by the Nouri al-Maliki government for the end of Syria's support for the Ba'athist insurgency.
The recent NIE mentions the issue with Syria, and notes that Syria "continues to provide safehaven for expatriate Iraqi Bathists and to take less than adequate measures to stop the flow of foreign jihadists into Iraq." In other words, they're supplying a conduit for both the Saddamists and the al-Qaeda fighters that have tormented Baghdad, Diyala, and Anbar. Iran, Syria's military ally, has supplied training and materiel at the least to the Shi'ite factions it supports. This paints a strange picture of two military allies fighting a proxy war in the center of Iraq, apparently just for the destruction it will wreak on Iraqis -- and therefore the damage it will do to the US.
Perhaps Iran is too tough a nut to crack with a military solution. Its topography certainly makes any action risky, much more risky than Iraq, and military strikes there will damage the pro-Western democratic activist movement already building there. However, none of that applies to Syria. Maybe we should keep economic pressure on Iran but start using military pressure to bring Syria to heel. That would solve problems for us in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories as well as reducing the flow of terrorists into Iraq.
If Dabbagh and the NIE have it correct, Iran and Syria have Iraq in a vise grip. The best way to beat that is to eliminate one side of the vise.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Iraqi Official: Half Of Violence Comes From Syria from Bill's Bites
Iraqi Official: Half Of Violence Comes From Syria Ed Morrissey While the US focuses on Iran as a fomenter of the violence wracking Baghdad and its environs, Iraqi officials have begun pointing west instead east as an explanation. After the [Read More]
Tracked on February 4, 2007 2:01 PM
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