Why Syria Fuels the Iraqi Insurgency

[Daily Star-Lebanon] Raymond Tanter - Al-Qaeda foreign fighters have been transiting through Syria into Iraq since the 2003 American invasion of Iraq and their number has increased during the first months of 2009. In the same way that Saudi Arabia disposed of its most fervent jihadists by sending them to Afghanistan during the 1980s to fight and die against the Soviet Union, Iraq was a fortuitous outlet for Syria's own Islamist opposition. Syria also had a strategic interest in tying down U.S. forces in Iraq and preventing the rise of a stable Iraqi government allied with the U.S. Just as Saudi Arabia suffered the blowback effects of jihadists returning from Afghanistan, a new generation of foreign fighters driven out of Iraq may yet challenge the Syrian regime. The writer is a former senior staff member of the U.S. National Security Council.

2009-05-27 06:00:00

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