DUNNIGAN’S ROUNDUP

StrategyPage devotes most of today’s Iraq summary to the heightened tensions with Syria:

The U.S. has warned Syria to stop it’s support for Saddam Hussein and his henchmen or face grave consequences. Many of the foreign fighters encountered in Iraq are Syrians, Special Forces watching the Syrian border have seen many fighters and much military equipment crossing into Iraq. The U.S. also believes that Iraq has moved its chemical weapons to Syria. Special Forces also discovered an illegal oil pipeline into Syria, which apparently sent over a billion dollars worth of Iraqi oil a year. This would explain some of the Syrian support for Saddam, who had long been a bitter enemy of the Syrians. Back in the 1960s, Syria and Iraq were run by the same Baath party, but then there was a political dispute that left the two Baath parties bitter enemies for decades.

Thousands of senior Iraqi officials have been seen headed for the Syrian border and many appear to have made it across. U.S. Special Forces and coalition commandos are trying to catch some of these fugitives. But the tribes in the area have been smuggling people and goods over the border for centuries and Saddam’s cronies have plenty of cash. So far, about half a dozen senior Saddam aides have been caught near the Syrian border.

I’m hopeful that the statements over the last couple of days by President Bush and Deputy SECDEF Wolfowitz will persuade the Syrian regime to cooperate.

In cheerier news, the civilian casualty figures have been revised downward:

Civilian casualties for the war were between 484 and 856 dead and between 4.411 and 6,606 wounded. Civilian losses after a major bombing campaign have never been so low. Sixty years ago, dropping that many bombs would have caused a hundred times more civilian injuries.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.