Thursday, October 30, 2008: xymphora
- A possible explanation for the American attack on Syria is that it had nothing to do with the particular target, but was the last chance for the neocons to extend the 'Bush Doctrine' to include the concept that the Americans don't have to recognize national sovereignty if they are in 'hot pursuit'.
- The idea that Syria secretly agreed to the attack is still kicking around. Of course, this could be Zionist propaganda. On the other hand, Syria and the U. S. are much closer than either will admit since the neocons have been largely deposed in Washington, and I find it hard to believe that the new order of adult rule in the United States would risk losing Syrian cooperation for some lowly smuggler. We also have to remember that the Israelis proved, last September, that the Syrians have working air defense (that's the only reason why Israel hasn't attacked Syria), and it wouldn't have looked very good for the Americans if they lost a couple helicopters. Maybe Syria agreed to turn off the radar for a few hours.
Analysts Question Timing of Syria Raid
WASHINGTON, Oct 28, 2008 (IPS) - A cross-border raid into Syria by U.S. forces in Iraq, and a subsequent stonewalling by U.S. officials unwilling to divulge details, has led to rampant speculation among U.S. analysts about the origins and meaning of the attack.
"So the question is: Why?" wrote geo-strategic analyst and journalist Helena Cobban on her blog, wondering if the raid could have been pulled off without explicit permission from the highest levels of the President George W. Bush administration.
"So why now at the end of the Bush administration, with Washington trying to play nice with Damascus and tensions easing throughout the region, would U.S. forces stage such a gambit?" echoed Borzou Daragahi on the Babylon and Beyond blog at the Los Angeles Times website.
The questions started to swirl late Sunday afternoon when U.S. helicopters allegedly crossed five miles over the desert border between Syria and Iraq. According to reports, eight U.S. soldiers alighted when a helicopter landed, attacking the al-Sukkari farm in the Syrian Abu Kamal border area.
The cross-border raid -- the first of its kind involving a helicopter attack and U.S. boots on the ground that far into Syrian territory -- left eight dead, according to Syrian press reports.
The attack is especially curious since, according to a report this weekend in the New York Times, Bush appears to have rolled back his initiative to lead troop-driven cross-border attacks -- initially approved this summer -- by Afghan-based U.S. forces into Pakistani territory.
The raid also comes as Syria is negotiating with Israel, through Turkish mediation, presumably in a calculated effort to alleviate tensions with the West and the U.S. The Bush administration's take on the Israel-Syria talks has been lukewarm at best.
More immediately for the U.S., the raid could complicate negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraqi authorities to allow U.S. forces to keep operating in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of this year.
The talks on the SOFA have been bogged down, and a persistent Iraqi demand has been that Iraqi soil not be used as a launch pad for attacks on other countries.
"The Iraqi government rejects U.S. aircraft bombarding posts inside Syria," a government spokesperson, Ali al-Dabbagh, said Tuesday. "The constitution does not allow Iraq to be used as a staging ground to attack neighbouring countries."
The U.S. Department of Defence has repeatedly declined to comment on the Syrian incident, including to a direct request by IPS, but several press reports have quoted unnamed U.S. officials confirming the attack, and saying that it was ordered by the CIA.
Syrian riot police encircle U.S. embassy as thousands protest raid
| By The Associated Press|
Hundreds of Syrian riot police ringed the shuttered and closed U.S. Embassy in Damascus on Thursday, as tens of thousands of Syrians converged on a central square for a government-orchestrated protest to denounce a deadly U.S. raid near the Iraqi border.
The troops, wearing helmets and armed with batons and shields, took up positions around the embassy and the adjacent U.S. residence building. Two fire engines were parked nearby although the massive anti-American rally was to take place at a square about 1.6 kilometers away.
The Syrian government has demanded that Washington apologize for Sunday's cross-border helicopter strike by American special forces that killed eight people.
The embassy was closed because of security concerns related to the protest, and the American school was also shut for the day. The Syrian government has ordered the closure of the school, expected within a week, and the immediate closing of the American cultural center linked to the embassy.
As the protesters filled the Youssef al-Azmi square and surrounding streets in the upscale al-Maliki neighborhood, some Syrians formed circles and danced traditional dances while women and students joined the peaceful crowds.
America the sponsor of destruction and wars, read one of the banners carried by the protesters, who waved national flags and totted pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Read the rest at Haaretz
Everyone's still scratching their heads about Sunday's dramatic U.S. attack on a Syrian village five miles from the Iraqi border.
Plenty of unanswered questions remain, like why didn't the Syrians do anything to thwart the Americans, such as launching anti-aircraft batteries deployed along their border?
Ronen Bergman, an Israeli intelligence expert and author of the recent "The Secret War with Iran," speculates that Syria green-lighted the U.S. operation.
Read the rest: LA Times