Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Open Secret: Syria Daily Sponsors and Aids Terrorists Murdering Iraqi Civilians and Americans: Doesn’t This Require Action?

By Barry Rubin

One of the world’s biggest open “secrets” is this: Syria is arming, helping, training, financing, and giving access across the border into Iraq for terrorists who are murdering Iraqi civilians and American soldiers or civilian workers.

Everyone knows it, statistics are kept on it. Yet this fact simply doesn’t seem to figure in U.S. policy. If it were known that a foreign country was waging covert war against America, that Americans were dying because of its direct involvement in terrorist attacks, don’t you think there would be some tough response (and I don’t mean an invasion)?

Yet this is precisely what’s happening. Naturally, the Iraqi government is angry about it. In fact, Baghdad just recalled its ambassador after two terrorists--Mohammad Younis al-Ahmed and Sattam Farhan--who it says are operating from within Syria just carried out bombings which killed more than 100 people.

Syria is a dictatorship. Nothing happens inside its territory without government approval. A U.S. official told me that the bus taking terrorists from Damascus to the border left from a place that can be seen from the U.S. embassy there.

Iraq also asked Syria to throw out the terrorist groups. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said,

“We…demand that Syria hand over every person wanted for committing murders and crimes against Iraqis and to kick out all terrorist organizations that use Syria as a base to launch and plan such operations against Iraqi people.”

The United States has been trying to get Syria to do this for other groups—Hamas, Hizballah, and many smaller organizations—for decades with no success.

But obviously the Iraqis are getting nowhere, so Dabbagh got angrier:

"Our relations with Syria have reached a crossroads of whether they choose to have good relations with Iraq, or whether they choose to protect persons who attack Iraq."

But what can Iraq do about it without serious Western support? Nothing. And so the terrorists are safe in Syria, laughing at their victims, continuing to attack. 

Meanwhile, despite strenuous U.S. efforts, the Syrian regime's position has become even more intransigent.

Is Syria an enemy of the United States which is only emboldened by American inaction and concessions? What do you think?

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan).
To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books:
To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports:

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