Aug 20 2007

Where Next After Iraq?

Published by at 7:54 am under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT,Syria

Yes, I am bullish on Iraq turning into a reasonable success. I am confident the turn of the tide with Iraqis aligning against al-Qaeda is going to make the difference. The levels of violence are dropping where al-Qaeda has been pushed out of the region, and the Muslim street is starting to oppose the random bombings, carnage and death which seems to kill Muslims ten fold over any American casualties. I once thought Iran would be the next target to look at, but Sen Joseph Lieberman makes a good case that Syria should be our next focus:

Recently declassified American intelligence reveals just how much al Qaeda in Iraq is dependent for its survival on the support it receives from the broader, global al Qaeda network, and how most of that support flows into Iraq through one country–Syria. Al Qaeda in Iraq is sustained by a transnational network of facilitators and human smugglers, who replenish its supply of suicide bombers–approximately 60 to 80 Islamist extremists, recruited every month from across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and sent to meet their al Qaeda handlers in Syria, from where they are taken to Iraq to blow themselves up to kill countless others.

Although small in number, these foreign fighters are a vital strategic asset to al Qaeda in Iraq, providing it with the essential human ammunition it needs to conduct high-visibility, mass-casualty suicide bombings, such as we saw last week in northern Iraq. In fact, the U.S. military estimates that between 80% and 90% of suicide attacks in Iraq are perpetrated by foreign fighters, making them the deadliest weapon in al Qaeda’s war arsenal. Without them, al Qaeda in Iraq would be critically, perhaps even fatally, weakened.

Japan’s Kamikazi suicide bombing pilots in WW II were also a threat to our Navy – until we learned to destroy them before they could get to our ships. Some got through, but not enough to change the dynamics of the war. The Kamikazi’s delayed the end of the war, they did not change its outcome.

So too now with Syria, which is also causing troubles in Lebanon by providing passage and support to al-Qaeda in that democracy. And the threat to Israel is always present from Syria. There is an opposition to the Assad insanity starting to take shape:

Khaddam, who stepped down as Syrian vice president in 2005 to join the opposition, stated that the Syrian regime’s “campaign against Saudi Arabia” should be seen in the context of Iran’s regional strategy and Syria’s role in it. This is because Saudi Arabia “constitutes one of the main obstacles to Iranian hegemony in the region, be it in the Gulf, Iraq, Palestine or Lebanon,” he said, according to the newspaper.

Khaddam was commenting on the row sparked by Shara’s criticizm of the Saudi kingdom. On its part, Riyadh has reacted with a fierce attack on the Syrian official, accusing him of making false statements and seeking to “stoke disorder in the region” after he claimed that Riyadh’s regional role has become paralyzed.

From what I have been reading here and there Bashir Assad is a weak leader under constant threat of losing his job (and most likely his head). It would make sense to try and push Syria into a more moderate position if possible. At the minimum it should be seeing the same economic sanctions as Iran – if not worse. We need to keep pushing these dominoes over so as to roll back al-Qaeda’s support in the Arab and Muslim world and isolate that support as much as possible. After Iraq the next two big concerns are Syria and Iran. It seems just a choice of which order would be best sequence to deal with them in terms of curtailing their ability to cause international terrorism.

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “Where Next After Iraq?”

  1. Soothsayer says:

    Go to Google Earth.

    Type in “East Madison, Maine” and click!

    After enjoying the spectacular zoom effect, center the photo-image on 44o 51’01” N and 69o45’57.55″ W

    Zoom further – note the red swimming dock.

    Observe the compound. Eat your heart out.

  2. There were posts from a soothsayer all last week on other sites.

    Left by BarbaraS on August 21st, 2007

    Ah yeah….