Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Thoughts on Syria

Cliff May, writing at NRO, highlights a plea from Farid Ghadry, head of the Reform Party of Syria (RPS), who claims that Speaker Pelosi's visit with Syrian President Assad has harmed the Syrian dissident movement. May observes:

But the elite media appear to be uninterested in that aspect of the story. Nor are they intrigued by Farid's charge that Assad "has built four different bases in Syria that we know of to train terrorists to send them to Iraq."

From their own website, here’s what the RPS is all about:

Reform Party of Syria (RPS) is a US-based Syrian opposition party to the Assad regime that has emerged as a result of September 11. The party is governed by secular, peace committed American-Syrians, Euro-Syrians, and native Syrians who are determined to see that a "New Syria" is reborn that embraces real democratic and economic reforms. 

I suppose some may want to discount or view with skepticism such dissidents in exile, but we do well to evaluate the claims they make about Iraqi run terrorist training operations based in Syria. Here are the key graphs from Ghadry’s complaint:

RPS wants to remind all the Democrats in Congress what Assad has been up to in building terrorist bases in Syria. Many of the Democrats already know it because they get the same good intelligence as the National Security Council or the DIA. The US public has not been informed of these training terrorist bases because the media is disinterested in highlighting any reason that would prompt Bush to take action. Without public support, the US can never achieve success in the hard and long struggle to subdue extremism and to spread freedom.

Assad has built four different bases in Syria that we know of to train terrorists to send them to Iraq. On February 20, in a Washington Times Op-Ed, RPS published the following intelligence known to the Democrats: "Regional intelligence services and inside sources from within Sunni officer corps opposed to the Assad regime have identified major foreign-fighter training camps in northern Syria and just outside Damascus overseen by Syrian Military Intelligence and run by former Iraqi Ba'athi Generals and senior Saddam Fedayeen commanders. One major foreign fighter camp exists in the Latakia province in northern Syria, a mountainous area replete with Syrian Military Intelligence facilities and wide swaths of ostensibly government property closed to the public. The Iraqi officer in charge there is one Maj. Gen. Majid Sulayman. Yet another such camp exists 40 kilometers to the west of the border town of Qamishli, which lies in the Kurdish area in the northeastern tip of Syria bordering Iraq and Turkey; it is run by Maj. Gen. Qays al-Adhami. The al-Shaybani camp lies 30 kilometers south of Damascus and also trains foreign fighters. The al-Ikhals camp lies in the heart of the Qaysun mountain range near Damascus."

Both proponents and opponents to our efforts in Iraq have long pointed out that the political controversies about Iraq -- pre-war Intelligence, justification for war, status and results -- will make further efforts to confront other state sponsors of terror that much more difficult. That’s as plain as the Pinocchio noses on the faces of Congressional latter day opponents of the war, who now try to claim they were lied to or manipulated.

But interesting to note, as many others do today, that Iran verifiably possesses a greater nuclear capacity then previously alleged for Iraq, when these present-day Pinocchios were convinced enough to approve military action against Saddam. Allegations that Syria is continuing to harbor – or run – terrorist training camps should solidly confirm Syria as a state sponsor of terror.

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