Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Syria Meddling? 

From Asia Times:
There is disagreement in Syria about what the government knows about such supposed ties and what it does about them. One adviser to the Foreign Ministry called it "inconceivable" that the government would allow, let alone condone, support for the Iraqi insurgents. "Those people may go and fight, be trained, learn all kinds of things and come back to make trouble," said Syrian adviser Riad Daoudi, indicating that the insurgency in Iraq is not in Syria's interest.

Prominent human-rights lawyer Anwar al-Bounni takes a different view. The government seems to be taking its precautions by arresting fighters who return from Iraq, he said. At the beginning of December, a man who had been held for four months after crossing back visited his office, he said. He is reported to have told Bounni that at least 50 more former fighters were languishing in the same jail. The lawyer estimated that there must be many
more elsewhere.

The government has indeed clamped down on some of the people who were calling for a jihad in Iraq, said Bounni. In Hama, a town that has a reputation as a fundamentalist stronghold, 16 preachers who were calling on their followers to go to Iraq were arrested in September, said the lawyer. This was done, he claimed, not because the authorities wanted to stop the flow of fighters completely, but because they do not want it to happen "outside their control".

If this is true, than it sounds like Syria doesn't want to end up like Saudi Arabia did in the early 90's, with an influx of Jihadis looking for a new playground. Of course Syrians and other Arabs have crossed the Syrian border into Iraq, it's too big of a border for Syria to completely control, but, we should have and enough soldiers locking down the border on Iraq's side, from Day 1.


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