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The trouble with Syria
What the Bush administration could gain from a commando strike inside Syria's border with Iraq
 

What happened
Syrian media reported that U.S. troops ferried by helicopter from Iraq killed eight people in a commando raid five miles into Syria, which has long been used as a staging ground for foreign fighters slipping into Iraq. (Los Angeles Times)

What the commentators said
It's about time, said John Hinderaker in the Power Line blog. Syria's border is the last path into Iraq for foreign terrorists. The Bush administration has already made strides in cutting off the supply of foreign fighters and money to insurgents, and sealing Syria's "porous" border will be one more step "toward turning over a stable Iraq to its successor." 

The more likely explanation, said Juan Cole in the Informed Comment blog, is that the administration wants to make sure that what it calls "al-Qaida in Iraq" doesn't "have the means to mount a spectacular bombing or assassination campaign that would hurt" John McCain and help Democrat Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race.

If this has anything to do with the election, said Ian Black in the British daily Guardian, it probably has less to do with boosting McCain's "flagging ratings" than with making "a final vengeful lunge" at a country that has been a thorn in Bush's side. But the strike may be just the latest in a series of American and Israeli warnings to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to "detach himself from his alliance with Iran and coax him into meaningful peace talks with the Jewish state."

 

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