Iraq Feels Ripples from War in Syria

(Washington Post) Ernesto Londono - Syria's civil war is increasingly threatening to destabilize neighboring Iraq, widening a sectarian divide in a nation still reeling from the messy aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion a decade ago. After staying on the sidelines for more than a year, Sunni tribes in Iraq that straddle the frontier have decisively joined the effort to topple the Alawite Shiite-led government in Damascus. "We will be the most affected if violence spreads in a way that cannot be controlled," Ali al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said in an interview. Jabhat al-Nusra, a hard-line Islamist group that has engineered many of the rebels' decisive tactical victories in Syria, is closely linked to the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. In online forums used by jihadists, members have posted statements vowing to take on Maliki after they drive out Assad and proclaiming that they will march on Baghdad after seizing Damascus. The convergence of militant groups in both countries became starkly clear this month when Iraqi insurgents ambushed a convoy transporting Syrian soldiers who had fled into Iraq after a firefight along the northern border.

2013-03-29 00:00:00

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