U. S. Raid Into Syria Confirmed (Updated)
U. S. government sources have confirmed last week’s raid into Syrian territory by American special forces against terrorist havens across the Iraqi border:
A U.S. military official in Washington confirmed that special forces had conducted a raid in Syria that targeted the network of al Qaeda-linked foreign fighters moving through Syria into Iraq.
The Syrian government said four U.S. military helicopters attacked a civilian building under construction shortly before sundown Sunday, killing eight people in the village of Sukkariyeh — about five miles inside the Syrian border.
“We are taking matters into our own hands,” the official told the Associated Press Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of cross-border raids.
Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, described the raid as an act of “criminal and terrorist aggression.”
The attack is another sign that the U.S. is aggressively launching military raids across the borders of Afghanistan and Iraq to destroy insurgent sanctuaries. In Pakistan, U.S. missile strikes have killed at least two senior al Qaeda operatives this year and ramped up the threat to groups suspected of plotting attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan and terror strikes in the West.
This highlights the problems in fighting groups that cross mostly unsecured national borders at will, something we’re facing in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A major difference between a raid into Syria and one into Pakistan is that the downside risk is lower: our supply line doesn’t pass through Syria and Syria isn’t nuclear-armed. If U. S. raids into Syria de-stabilized the present Syrian government I think we might consider it a good thing.
I understand the reasons for the raid but I still find it troubling. I continue to hold hopelessly to the old-fashioned outdated Westphalian notion: if we have a problem with Syria or Pakistan we should take it to the principals rather than just ignoring their borders and dealing with the situation.
Pat Lang is critical of the operation:
Whatever the cause, the result of ham fisted actions of this kind can be disastrous for the chance of making something better emerge from the situation that Bush/Cheney is leaving for President Obama and his team.