Counter-Terrorism: June 20, 2005

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American military intelligence analysts in Iraq continue to pick up signs that the Islamic terrorists they are fighting, are using Syria as a base. The earliest, and most obvious, signs were documents, and confessions, from terrorists that they had entered Iraq via Syria. Then came comments, and other information, indicating that some training was being given to the terrorist recruits while they were in Syria. There was also the captured weapons, and now bomb parts, that were coming across from Syria. Naturally, the Syrians deny everything. Later, the Syrians admitted that they had little control over the smugglers, who have been moving goods across the border for generations. What Syria was less willing to admit was that corruption along the border had flourished for a long time. And the government was unable to do much about it. The bribes keep many government officials happy. Stop the bribes, and the shaky government of Syria gets a little closer to chaos. The Syrians are pretty confident the United States wont invade, but there are other ways to make you uncomfortable. The diplomatic pressure on Syria has been intense, and unofficial Special Forces raids across the border are not out of the question (although these wont get much in the way of official publicity.) Meanwhile, American troops, and Iraqi commandoes, are chasing the terrorist groups around western Iraq, killing them as they corner them. Long term, however, it is feared that the al Qaeda hit squads and suicide bombers will just try to operate out of Syria, taking refuge in residential areas (to make smart bomb attacks more risky, from a media perspective.)

Intelligence operations inside Syria are likely to get more numerous, and bolder. The Syrians may just stand back, not wanting to complicate their situation with captured American operatives. 

 


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