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The case against Syria
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, February 24, 2005

I'm sure everyone has been watching the Lebanese reaction to the purported Syrian car bombing that killed ex-PM Rafik Hariri.

Syria is now reported to be ready to withdraw its troops:
The Lebanese defense minister said Thursday that Syria has decided to withdraw troops from the coast and mountain areas to the eastern Bekaa Valley on the Syrian border, but he gave no timeframe.

"The decision to withdraw has been taken," said Abdul-Rahim Murad in television interviews. "What remains is the exact timing."

Lebanese and Syrian military officers have begun meetings to define "the dates and the way" the withdrawal will take place, Murad said, adding that the pullback from the coast and the mountains to the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border was in line with a 1989 Arab-brokered agreement.
Syria has also reportedly offered assistance in investigating Hariri's murder, which, for some reason, reminds me of OJ's claim to dedicate the rest of his life to finding Nichole Brown's murderer.

Now comes a report from Iraq that a captured terrorist has confessed on TV to being a Syrian officer who trained Iraqi terrorists:
Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.

Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.

Syrian officials could not be reached for comment on the claims.

In reality, and assuming this guy isn't just saying whatever his captors want him to say, this only confirms what has long been suspected.

The US is claiming it hasn't been able to verify the veracity of the captive identified as Lt. Anas Ahmed al-Essa of the Syrian intelligence service, but his story at least sounds plausible:



Apparently, if this is true, Syria saw the handwriting on the wall, infiltrated Iraq (understanding that Iraq would never win against a US invasion) and pointedly planned on waging a war of death, destruction, propaganda and chaos against the US and the Iraqi people.

Couple this with their terror operations out of Lebanon's Bekaa valley in support of Palestinian terrorists, and it isn't at all difficult to see why the Bush administration has concluded that Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism.

Doing something about it, however, is another much more difficult thing.
 
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I'm wondering (and this is nothing but conjecture) if the Bush Administration realized that there wasn't enough support to go in after Syria, but tentatively enough for Iraq and knowing that if we freed Iraq that it would draw Syria out of the woodwork. Then we'd have the support to go in after them as well.

I've always thought of Iraq as the first move in a big game of chess and not the check-mate-move many want to make it seem.

Then again, we could wipe out the House of Saud and probably remove 90% of terrorism sponsorship. But why go for the obvious, eh?
 
Written By: Sharp as a Marble
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
This sounds like bollocks to me. Go and read the report in the Boston Globe and then tell me that you still think it plausible.
''I was trained on explosives, killing, spying, kidnapping ... and after one year I went to Iraq with Fady Abdullah,'' al-Essa said.
He claimed he infiltrated Iraq in 2001, about two years before the U.S. invasion, because Syrian intelligence was convinced that American military action loomed.

Did anybody really think that Bush was crazy enough to invade Iraq in 2001. As Juan Cole suggests, it was more likely that he was sent in to destabilize Saddam Hussein.
The Syrian Baath mostly did not get on well with the Iraqi Baath. Another confessed terrorist said he was sent to Pakistan for training and then Syria. Oh, now we have a Baath-Islamist axis again. Sure. Shiite secular Arab nationalists are just dying to get up a collaboration with non-Arab Pakistani hyper-Sunnis who paint "Kill the Shiites" on their mini-buses in Lahore.
BTW, can you name a single terrorist operation carried out by the Syrians from the Bekaa valley in the past ten years.
 
Written By: blowback
URL: http://
BTW, can you name a single terrorist operation carried out by the Syrians from the Bekaa valley in the past ten years.

Probably a poorly worded sentence on my part but I was alluding to Syrian support of Palestinian terrorists out of the Bekaa valley. There's no question that's happened within the last 10 years.

Did anybody really think that Bush was crazy enough to invade Iraq in 2001. As Juan Cole suggests, it was more likely that he was sent in to destabilize Saddam Hussein.

Wow ... that is a stretch. They may not of had a close relationship, but Iraq was "son of Syria" in terms of a Ba'athist nation. Destabalizing a relatively friendly regime makes no political sense. What was there for Syrina to gain in such a destabalization?

Secondly, who was this guy trained to behead? Saddam loyalists? Iraqi Ba'athists out of favor with Syria?

In 2001?

Speaking of bollocks.

Shiite secular Arab nationalists are just dying to get up a collaboration with non-Arab Pakistani hyper-Sunnis who paint "Kill the Shiites" on their mini-buses in Lahore.

Or, in fact, they may have been training on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan (a relatively safe haven) with reminants of the Taliban. Obviously it's a little early to be jumping to conclusions as you and Cole have.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
In that case name one example of Syrian support of Palestinian terrorists out of the Bekaa valley in the last ten years. Stop the generalizations and unfounded accusations unless you can back them up with hard facts.
All Baathists are not the same. Why did Syrian provide troops for the first Gulf War that fought on the American side? Because the Syrian Baathists loved Saddam Hussein? I think not.
What evidence do you have that this guy was trained to behead people. Just because he says he was, doesn't make it true. He could either be a plant or he may have been tortured. There has been plenty of torture in Iraq!
Osama bin Laden and the Taliban are Sunni moslems and think that Shi'ites are apostates and only good to be slaughtered. If the Syrians were in league with the Taliban, why would they have provided to the Americans some of the best intelligence on al Qaida they have received. Why would the Syrians torture prisoners subject to "extraordinary rendition" by the Americans
You have jumped to the conclusion that this report is truthful. Bear in mind that it comes from a TV station funded by the Pentagon and, of course, the Pentagon always tells the truth
 
Written By: blowback
URL: http://
In that case name one example of Syrian support of Palestinian terrorists out of the Bekaa valley in the last ten years. Stop the generalizations and unfounded accusations unless you can back them up with hard facts.

Obviouusly you're not particularly familiar with the situation in the middle east, are you? This isn't new stuff:
Is Hezbollah sponsored by any states?

Yes, Iran and Syria. The group receives substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria, the State Department reports. Hezbollah was founded as a catspaw for Iran, Middle East experts say. While Iran gave Hezbollah more funding and support in the 1980s than in the 1990s, it still often gives Hezbollah its orders and its ideological inspiration. And because Lebanon has been under Syrian control since 1990, Hezbollah could not operate in Lebanon without Syria's approval, Middle East experts say.

Where does Hezbollah operate?

Its base is in Lebanons Shiite-dominated areas, including parts of Beirut, southern Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley. In addition, U.S. intelligence reports say that Hezbollah cells operate in regions including Europe, Africa, South America, and North America. Despite Israels 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon, Hezbollah continues to shell Israeli forces at a disputed border area called Shebaa Farms.
All Baathists are not the same. Why did Syrian provide troops for the first Gulf War that fought on the American side? Because the Syrian Baathists loved Saddam Hussein? I think not.

No, because it was probably difficult to sit on the sidelines in the face of such naked aggression. Even Syria couldn't get away with that, especially when the Arab League, of which Syria was a part, condemned Iraq's invasion and promised cooperation toward his ouster.

What evidence do you have that this guy was trained to behead people. Just because he says he was, doesn't make it true. He could either be a plant or he may have been tortured.

I at least have his word, which is more than you have to say he wasn't.

Osama bin Laden and the Taliban are Sunni moslems and think that Shi'ites are apostates and only good to be slaughtered. If the Syrians were in league with the Taliban, why would they have provided to the Americans some of the best intelligence on al Qaida they have received.

Gee, because it was to their political benefit at the time to do so? What, are you suggesting that a terrorist nation such as Syria wouldn't sell an OBL or the Taliban down the river if they saw a political advantage to doing so?

Time to get a grasp on realpolitik.

You have jumped to the conclusion that this report is truthful. Bear in mind that it comes from a TV station funded by the Pentagon and, of course, the Pentagon always tells the truth.

I haven't jumped to any conclusions, unlike you. In fact I specifically pointed out that these statements had NOT been verified by the US:
The US is claiming it hasn't been able to verify the veracity of the captive ...
I've also pointedly said:

"In reality, and assuming this guy isn't just saying whatever his captors want him to say...

and

"Apparently, if this is true,..."

It might be worth your while to read for comprehension before jumping to false conclusions leading to false accusations.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
First you said "Couple this with their terror operations out of Lebanon's Bekaa valley in support of Palestinian terrorists"
And I asked you to name a single terrorist operation carried out by the Syrians from the Bekaa valley in the past ten years.
Then you said "I was alluding to Syrian support of Palestinian terrorists out of the Bekaa valley. There's no question that's happened within the last 10 years."
And I asked you to name one example of Syrian support of Palestinian terrorists out of the Bekaa valley in the last ten years.
So rather than answer my question, you reply suggesting that I am not particularly familiar with the situation in the middle east.
Your evidence? A post from from the Council for Foreign Relations suggesting that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. Have I mentioned Hezbollah in any of my comments?
If you won't answer the questions above, perhaps you will demonstrate your knowledge of the middle eastern situation by explaining why Syria intervened in the Lebanon and just who they were protecting when they did so?
 
Written By: blowback
URL: http://
First you said "Couple this with their terror operations out of Lebanon's Bekaa valley in support of Palestinian terrorists"

And I asked you to name a single terrorist operation carried out by the Syrians from the Bekaa valley in the past ten years.


You are either stunningly dense or exceedingly ignorant. What is readily apparent is you're unable to read for comprehension.

Syria controls the Bekaa valley. The terrorist group Hezbollah operates there with Syrain support. Hezbollah has run MANY operations against Israel out of the Bekaa valley in the last 10 years.

Anyone with an ounce of knowldege knows this and doesn't have to ask silly questions such as yours. Interestingly when confronted with a cite which confirms it, you turn to hair-splitting nonsense.

Syria supports terrorists in the Bekaa valley in the person of Hezbollah which has been running terror operations out of there for decades.

Is that clear enough?

Then adding to this cacaphony of idiocy you ask this:

Have I mentioned Hezbollah in any of my comments?

No you haven't but so what? THEY are the terrorist organization operating under Syrian support from the Bekaa valley. If, in fact you knew anything at all about that which you are yammering about, you'd KNOW that.

Obviously, ignorance is bliss and you're happily unaware of something anyone with even a passing bit of knowledge knows about the area.

If you won't answer the questions above, perhaps you will demonstrate your knowledge of the middle eastern situation by explaining why Syria intervened in the Lebanon and just who they were protecting when they did so?

Now you're trying to change the subject because you've been caught flat-footed spouting a bunch of nonsense.

Instead of me demonstrating some knowledge, why don't YOU, for the first time, do so? You tell ME why they "intervened" in Lebanon and what that has to do with anything I've discussed in the post above.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Heszbollah is not a Palestinian organisation. It is a organization set up by the Shi'ite of southern Lebanon to expell the Israelis who were illegally occupying southern Lebanon in contravention of a unanimous UN Security Council resolution which even the US government supported. While Israel and the US might regard Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, there are a lot of other countries which do not.
If it is so readily apparent, just why can't you name one?
You have claimed that I have little knowledge of the situation in the middle east so I was trying to establish just how great your knowledge really is. From your replies, I would suggest that you have a very one-sided view of the situation in the middle east.
 
Written By: blowback
URL: http://
All Baathists are not the same. Why did Syrian provide troops for the first Gulf War that fought on the American side? Because the Syrian Baathists loved Saddam Hussein? I think not.


#1. 1.3 billion dollars from the Coalition, mostly provided by the Gulf States?

#2. Normalization of relations with the Gulf States, which had seriously cut back aid to Syria after Bashar's daddy backed the Persians instead of the Arabs in the Iran/Iraq war(s)?

#3. The promise that they would only be required to "guard the borders of Saudi Arabia" during the conflict, thus putting them in the close proximity required for maximally effective ass-kissing of Saudi Arabia?

Enough reasons?

Just to provide a little more fuel for the fire and provide another source you can deride (without, of course, citing any of your own), try this. While I'm sure he's not a knowledgeable about the situation in the Middle East as the estimable Dr. Cole, he seems to think there is a whole alphabet stew of terrorist organizations in the Bekaa Valley (and other place in Lebanon) supported by the Syrians.

As for this incredible hatred between Bashar and Saddam, it makes one wonder why Syria was receiving 200K barrels of half-priced oil a day from Iraq's Kirkuk pipeline prior to the war.

 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Heszbollah is not a Palestinian organisation.

Who said it was?

While Israel and the US might regard Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, there are a lot of other countries which do not.

Irrelevant ... we're talking about what the US considers them.

If it is so readily apparent, just why can't you name one?

Name one what?

You have claimed that I have little knowledge of the situation in the middle east so I was trying to establish just how great your knowledge really is. From your replies, I would suggest that you have a very one-sided view of the situation in the middle east.

It would appear you're wrong.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Who said it was?
You are the one who brought up Hezbollah when you would not answer my question about Syrian terror operations out of Lebanon's Bekaa valley in support of Palestinian terrorists.
Irrelevant ... we're talking about what the US considers them.
Maybe this is why the US is currently bogged down in Iraq after putting a pro-Iranian government in power.
Name one what?
You seem to be totally incapable of answering my original question. Can you name a single terrorist operation carried out by the Syrians from the Bekaa valley in the past ten years?
It would appear that you're wrong
Why would it appear I am wrong. You haven't answered the fairly trivial question I asked you to establish your knowledge of the situation in the middle east. So I will ask it once more.
Why did Syria intervene in the Lebanon and just who were they protecting?
Terry. Perhaps you should look at just who the Lebanon Foundation for Peace represent and where they are located. Not exactly an independent party.
 
Written By: blowback
URL: http://
You are the one who brought up Hezbollah when you would not answer my question about Syrian terror operations out of Lebanon's Bekaa valley in support of Palestinian terrorists.

That was the answer to your question, although you haven't figured that out yet.

Now, back to my question. Where did I say Hezbollah was a "Palestinian organization?"

Maybe this is why the US is currently bogged down in Iraq after putting a pro-Iranian government in power.

What has this to do with whether Hezbollah is a terrorist organization?

You seem to be totally incapable of answering my original question. Can you name a single terrorist operation carried out by the Syrians from the Bekaa valley in the past ten years?

Yes ... all of the Syrian supported Hezbollah or "IR" operations against Israel in the last 10 years. How did you miss that?

Why did Syria intervene in the Lebanon and just who were they protecting?

They weren't protecting anyone, they invaded Lebanon on the pretext stopping the fighting between Muslim and Christians but were in fact using the excuse to again include Lebanaon in what Syria had always seen as 'Greater Syria' to begin with.

Terry. Perhaps you should look at just who the Lebanon Foundation for Peace represent and where they are located. Not exactly an independent party.

Actually it would be better if you looked at the body of the letter and come to understand that those terrorist organizations exist in the Bekaa valley under the protection and support of Syria.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Terry. Perhaps you should look at just who the Lebanon Foundation for Peace represent and where they are located. Not exactly an independent party.


Actually, I am fully aware of what the Lebanon Foundation for Peace is and who they represent. Perhaps you are in the habit of citing documents that agree with you without having any familiarity with the source, but I am not. I picked that document out of literally dozens of documents, many by major intelligence agencies and international NGOs, that identify Syria as a major supporter of terrorism, because I knew that your only response to it would be "but they're biased!"

They also live and have lived on the sharp end of Syria's stick in the Middle East for years.

Pardon me if I trust their bias far more than I trust the bias of somebody who thinks a screen tag of "blowback" is cute and who hasn't, not one single time in several interminable posts, actually presented one single fact to back up his absurd assertions.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Just when you think you've seen everything in comments sections: a Hezbollah apologist.

The US, by the way, still has a score to settle with Hezbollah. 241 of them, to be precise.
 
Written By: Crank
URL: http://www.baseballcrank.com

 
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