Monday, August 31, 2009

Syria "on the nose"

From THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 31, 2009, by Herb Keinon:

...Iraq and Syria are entangled in a diplomatic dispute over demands that Damascus extradite two suspects wanted in recent suicide attacks on government ministries in Baghdad that killed about 100 people. The tension led both countries to recall their ambassadors.

The dispute was further compounded on Sunday, when Iraqi authorities broadcast a confession from a man who said he received terrorist training in neighboring Syria.

The Iraqi government has blamed an alliance of al-Qaida in Iraq and Saddam Hussein loyalists it says are based in Syria for the Aug. 19 bombings and demanded that Damascus hand over the two suspected plotters, raising tensions between the two countries.

...In a bid to ease diplomatic tensions between the two neighbors, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu planned to meet leaders in Iraq and Syria later Monday.

...the US believes some of those responsible for the wave of attacks, as well as some of the explosives that were used to carry them out, came across the border from Syria ...

...The deadly attacks have also severely strained Syrian-Iraqi relations, with Iraq charging that Syria is sheltering suspects connected to some of the bombings. Iraq demanded Damascus hand over the suspects, Damascus demanded proof that they were involved, and the two countries recently recalled their respective ambassadors over the issue.

With all this in the background, Syria - according to Israeli sources - has made it clear in recent weeks that it was no longer interested in Turkish mediation in indirect talks with Jerusalem, but now only wanted US mediation.

According to assessments in Jerusalem, however, the US was far less likely now to accommodate this Syrian request until it did more to stop the infiltrations into Iraq...

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