Reading Through the Syrian “Outcry”

My take on the big uproar over the US raid into Syria is that it  will blow over in a few days.    While Syria probably didn’t sit down with US troops and say “gee how can we plan a joint operation against the targets,” I suspect Syria probably turned a blind eye, knowing that the raid carried out one of their stated security objectives.   Scroll down a few posts to read my theory in greater depth.  Borzou of the LA TIMES looks at the possibility that Syria green-lighted the attack: 

Everyone’s still scratching their heads about Sunday’s dramatic U.S. attack on a Syrian village five miles from the Iraqi border.

Plenty of unanswered questions remain, like why didn’t the Syrians do anything to thwart the Americans, such as launching anti-aircraft batteries deployed along their border?  Ronen Bergman, an Israeli intelligence expert and author of the recent “The Secret War with Iran,” speculates that Syria green-lighted the U.S. operation.   In an interview with an Israeli newspaper and in a chat with Britain’s Sky News, Bergman cites two senior American officials who he says told him the Americans went after an alleged Al Qaeda leader in Syria only after getting Damascus’ OK.

He says the Syrians were at first reluctant to appear to be submitting to U.S. pressure by going after the guy themselves. In the end, they discretely gave the Americans permission to cross their border and hunt him down …   According to Bergman, Syrians told Washington they wouldn’t block their way if  commandos entered their country in broad daylight:

“If you want to do this, do it. We are going to give you a corridor and carte blanche. We will not harm your troops. … The Syrians have invested so much in aerial defences, especially against choppers and the Americans go in in daylight and nothing is being done.”

According to U.S. officials, the target of the raid was a man named Abu Ghadiya, an Al Qaeda figure responsible for funneling guns and fighters through Syria and into Iraq. But journalists who reached the site quoted villagers as saying the only people killed were innocent civilians.  Does it make sense that Syria would OK such a dramatic U.S. attack?  There’s been a slight thaw in relations between Syria and the U.S. over the last few months. Syria’s secular leadership has been fighting radical Islamists for decades.  From a Syrian point of view, why not let the U.S. take care of the region’s Abu Ghadiyas?   And as for the timing, it’s better for Damascus to let the U.S. finish the job now and blame the Bush administration, whose reputation in the Middle East could hardly get worse, and make a fresh start with the Obama or McCain teams.

My Commentary
The comments accuse the post’s writer of merely following a right-wing agenda, trying to disguise or legitimize American agression.  Ok, but how do we explain that this mission just happens to fit in with Syria’s stated security goals? 

 Governments, almost by definition, say one thing and do another.  There wouldn’t be anything especially unusual about the Syrian government making a public show about “US agression” while having had full knowledge of it all along.  No government’s statements can be taken at face value.  Could Italy’s protests following the 2003 CIA kidnappings in Milan be taken at face-value?  I don’t think so. 

Also,  if in fact the raid was green-lighted, there is the possibily (even likelihood) that only the Security apparatus and highest level political people would know about it and  therefore the people bitching up the biggest storm could genuinely think that Syria got shafted when in fact it didn’t. 




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