Monday, August 31, 2009

Al Qaeda terrorist says Syria trained him

From Enerpub:
American relations with Syria have been frosty, if not downright icy for decades. Starting with Syrian involvement in the 1976 Lebanese Civil War along with the subsequent occupation of Lebanon and arming of Hezbollah, the diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Syria has been poor.

The list of problems is long: complicity in the 1983 Hezbollah bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut as well as the Iranian-sponsored rearming of Hezbollah after the 2006 war with Israel; the 1982 destruction of Hama by then president Hafez Assad, killing an estimated 10-25,000 people; the UN finding of Syrian involvement in the car bomb murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others; al Qaeda and related insurgent organizations grouping in eastern Syria and infiltrating Iraq etc.

This list is not complete without the Syrian-North Korean cooperation on missiles and building a nuclear facility (since destroyed by israel), and Syrian-Iranian economic, political and military relations, including public approval by Bashir Assad of the "re-election" of Iranian President Ahmadinejad in June.

Nonetheless, this year, an apparent thaw in relations between the two states appears to be quickening in momentum. In February, the Obama Administration waived Syria Accountability Act provisions to approve the export of aircraft parts and repair services to Syria for civil aviation...

Additionally, the return of a U.S. Ambassador to Damascus was announced on June 24th. In July, according to Agence France Presse, Middle East "peace process" envoy George Mitchell told Assad he would work to speed up the process of obtaining exemptions to anti-Syrian sanctions. At the end of July, the United States announced a decision to ease sanctions on spare aircraft parts, information-technology products and telecommunications equipment.

A second delegation from Central Command arrived in August accompanied by an aide to Sen. Mitchell. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who said the talks are focused on Syria's "ongoing efforts to help stabilize the situation in Iraq."...

Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, expressed pleasure at the changed American posture in a Wall Street Journal interview. "We received assurances that the relations between the two countries should resume on the basis of mutual interests and most importantly on the basis of mutual respect. We really welcome such a new approach.”

But if the US is hoping to wean Syria away from its relationship with Iran and North Korea through political and economic benefit, the Syrians appear to be unpersuaded. Japanese intelligence learned in May that Iran, Syria and North Korea secretly test-launched in southern Syria a new, jointly developed short-range ballistic missile. Sources in Japan confirmed both the test and the failure of the missile....
From Alsumaria:
In a new development that could worsen rows between Iraq and Syria, Iraq aired on Sunday a confession from a Saudi Qaeda militant who accused Syrian intelligence agents of training foreign fighters like himself in a camp before sending them to participate in operations aimed to destabilize Iraq.

Mohammed Hassan Al Shemari said when he arrived in Syria from Saudi Arabia, he was met by a militant who took him to a training camp in Syria. The head of the camp was a Syrian intelligence agent called Abu Al Qaqaa, he noted.

“They taught us lessons in Islamic law and trained us to fight”, he added. Al Shemari affirmed that he crossed into Iraq through Boukamal region after ending training with three other militants, a Saudi, a Libyan and an Algerian.

He moved around Iraq before settling in Diyala Province, Al Shemari counted affirming that he participated in operations aimed at destabilizing Iraq. He explained that he received financial support from Syria and Saudi Arabia to fund combat operations in the country.

The arrested confessed that he slaughtered himself a number of policemen in the presence of militants in order to train them on slaughter.
From Reuters:
The videotaped accusations [of Al Shemari], aired by Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi in a news conference, could worsen a row between Iraq and Syria over accusations that Syria supports Islamist militants responsible for attacks in Iraq.

Iraq and Syria recalled their ambassadors last week after Baghdad demanded Damascus hand over two alleged masterminds of bombings in Baghdad that killed almost 100 people, mainly at two government ministries...
Nevertheless, despite all of this, President Obama will continue his rapprochement policy with Syria, because, as he and his administration have declared time and time again: The US is not at war with terror.....

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