June 23, 2005

Syria Watch

Abizaid, today:

I would say there is a clear node inside Syria which facilitates it [the entering into Iraq of insurgents]. Whether or not the Syrian government is facilitating it or ignoring it is probably a debatable question, but the key node is Damascus.

Meantime:

Bush administration officials asserted today that an international consensus had emerged that Syria had been stoking the violence in Lebanon and Iraq and against Israelis, and they said they are now certain that Syrian agents have been operating in Lebanon.

The comments represented an escalation of the campaign by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to isolate Syria diplomatically as the administration has faced mounting violence against its interests throughout the Middle East. Ms. Rice has not said what other forms of pressure might be applied.

A senior State Department official, briefing reporters under ground rules that he not be identified, said there was "widespread agreement" at a meeting of leading foreign ministers in London, and among the delegates at a conference on Iraq in Brussels on Wednesday, that Syria bore major responsibility for instability in the region.

Ms. Rice, speaking at the conclusion of the foreign ministers' meeting, accused Syria of supporting the Iraq insurgency.

"Let's not have more words about what they are prepared to do" she said, regarding Syrian promises to help Iraq with security on their mutual border. "Let's have action. If they're prepared to do it, they should just do it."

The temperature is certainly hotting up yet a few more notches between Damascus and Washington. Detailed analysis soon, time permitting.

Posted by Gregory at June 23, 2005 11:32 PM | TrackBack (5)
Comments

A senior State Department official, briefing reporters under ground rules that he not be identified, said there was "widespread agreement" at a meeting of leading foreign ministers in London, and among the delegates at a conference on Iraq in Brussels on Wednesday, that Syria bore major responsibility for instability in the region.

I'd be willing to bet that if you asked any random group of foreign ministers, they'd say "the US bore major responsibility for instability in the region" as well.

Basically, the Bush administration is not trying to resolve the Iraq problem, but to expand it throughout the region.

There are two sides of every border --- and if the US with its massive technological and logistical capabilities can't secure the Syria/Iraq border from the Iraqi side, how realistic is it to demand that Syria secure its border from its own side?

Lots of people mocked the picture of fence that Syria was constructing along its border --- no one noticed that US/Iraqi forces weren't building their own, better fence.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 24, 2005 12:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Syrian thinking could be that the best thing they can do is bog the Americans down in Iraq by allowing foreign fighters safe passage through their border with Iraq. This action can be viewed as a defensive tactic - better to keep the Americans busy in Iraq less they turn their attention, and their military, to Syria. Regardless through, the fact is there are insufficient troops to secure the border (General Shinseki was right), and I don't see anyone from the Coalition of the Willing showing up anytime soon to lend a hand.

Posted by: Keith I. at June 25, 2005 02:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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