Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Road to Damascus

I noted that Syria is between Iraq and a hard place.

Following the lopsided allied win at Tal Afar that obliterated the jihadi and Baathist defenders at little allied cost, the US and Iraq are pushing toward Syria quite literally.

And in rhetoric, we are putting the pressure on Damascus.

Syria has become a hub for terrorists, as young, would-be terrorists travel unmolested through the Damascus airport on one-way tickets, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said. The United States also accuses Syria of turning a blind eye to terror training camps on its soil.

"Our patience is running out, the patience of Iraqis are running out.
The time for decision ... has arrived for Damascus," Khalilzad told reporters at the State Department.

The tough talk is part of a U.S. campaign to increase pressure on Syria in several foreign capitals and at the U.N. General Assembly this week in New York.

And not just our envoy:

The president also issued a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom he accused of failing to control the flow of fighters sneaking into Iraq. The United States also has suggested that Syria played a role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafil Hariri last February in Beirut. The U.N. is investigating the assassination.

"The Syrian leader must understand we take his lack of action seriously," Bush said.

Since I think that the biggest threat to Iraq comes from Iran and not Syria (and as I noted in that post, Iran could invade Iraq--a worry that I repeated here), I find it hard to believe that we plan any major military operations to the west. If we beat Syria, Iran would not give up. But if Iran went down, Syria would have to fold, I believe.

But something is happening that we hope will quiet the Syrians down.