Syria Source of 9 of 10 Iraq Suicide Bombers

Senior Iraqi officials allege that 9 of 10 suicide bombers operating in Iraq are trained in Syria.

Iraq Says Syria Harbors Foreign Killers (WaPo, A15)

Top Iraqi defense officials on Sunday accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters to operate training camps on Syrian soil and sneak into Iraq to commit suicide bombings. “We do not have the least doubt that nine out of 10 of the suicide bombers who carry out suicide bombing operations among Iraqi citizens . . . are Arabs who have crossed the border with Syria,” the Iraqi national security adviser, Mowaffak Rubaie, told journalists in Cairo, the Reuters news service reported. “Most of those who blow themselves up in Iraq are Saudi nationals,” he added.

Iraqi Defense Minister Sadoun Dulaimi also criticized Syria. “We have more than 450 detainees who came from different Arab and Muslim countries to train in Syria and enter with their booby-trapped vehicles into Iraq to bring destruction and killings,” Dulaimi said after meeting with Jordanian Prime Minister Adnan Badran in Amman, according to the Associated Press. “Let me tell the Syrians that if the Iraqi volcano explodes, no neighboring capital will be saved,” Dulaimi said, warning that the aim of terrorists was “to kill tolerance and destroy coexistence in Arab and Muslim cities.”

The charges came as Jordan blamed Iraqi suicide bombers for three blasts at hotels in Amman on Wednesday that killed 57 people. The allegations also echo complaints from U.S. military officials that Syria has done little to patrol its 376-mile border with Iraq.

The 9 of 10 number is quite probably an exageration. Regardless, Syria is quite likely the prime base camp for terrorists now that Afghanistan is inhospitable–with Iraq as the major proving ground.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. RA says:

    So… why not send 10 cruise missles to the 10 most likely spots Assad is. Just as a shot accross their bow. Lets see how Assad likes a spider hole.

  2. Anderson says:

    Sounds like part of our ad hoc rationalization for invading Syria. I would think that Bush wouldn’t dare with his polls so low, but god knows it would probably rally him to the 51% mark.

    I hold no brief for the Syrians, but given our incompetence and thin troops in Iraq, I just don’t see that we have the practical wherewithal to go there. To say nothing of the international ramifications.

  3. exdem13 says:

    Well James, would you accept a figure of 70%? ^_^
    It’s been known for a long time that Syria is a location where jihadis and exiled Baathists can gather, obtain new cannon fodder, and send them across the borders into Iraq. Now that Coalition & Iraqi Security troops are operating close to the Syrian border in an attempt to interdict insurgents infiltrating across the border, look to hear more of these complaints. Also look to see soem stern warnings from the White House, as a possible prelude to overt action against insurgent sites in Syria in 2006. (I have no doubt that covert operations are taking place on the wrong side of the Iraqi-Syrian border already.)

  4. jane says:

    There is little doubt that many of the foreign jihadists have been coming through Syria. And they have been the ones heavly involved in the suicide bombings.

    The degree of Syrian complicity is an issue. Almost certainly some Syrian officials and parts of their system are at least looking the wat. But Assad was scared and threatened by Jihadists coming back after the fall of Iraq. A significant number of terrorists have been captured.

    The areas bordering Iraq are a bad land with limited Syrian control and a people not loyal to them. So one very big danger if we collapse or otherwise disrupt the Syrian government is that it will be even more useful as a terrorist gathering point. Sweeping the country into chaos could be dangerous.

  5. John Burgess says:

    But… but… what about all those reports that said Saudis were the main source of the suicide bombers in Iraq?