International Relations, War & Conflict

Late Sunday night we reported that reports said that the United States had attacked a target within Syria that day. We were, as of yet, unsure about the goal of the operation, nor were we sure that the U.S. was willing to go public by defending the attack.

One day later, however, it has become clear that the attack was carried out on purpose. The goal, as publicly admitted by top U.S. officials, was to secure the Iraqi-Syrian border in order to stop the inflow of foreign terrorists into Iraq.

One year ago, 100 foreign terrorists entered Iraq each month. Once in Iraq they joined forces with extremist organizations such as Al Qaeda and fought against U.S. troops, government troops and even Muslims who did not agree with the extremist Islam the terrorists adhered to.

Six months ago, this number had dropped to 50, today to 20 a month.

The drop is in large part due to successful efforts to close the borders with Iraq’s neighbors. Virtually every border has been sealed except for one, U.S. officials said yesterday: the border with Syria remains open. Syria is either unwilling or unable to close it.

So, the U.S. is “taking matters into our own hands,” as one of the aforementioned U.S. officials told the AP.

Syria has condemned the attack, charging that several civilians, among whom four children, died. More than anything, though, the Syrian response seems to be a matter of keeping up appearances, for they are not doing anything against the United States, not publicly at least.

Meanwhile, a reader of Power Line, with knowledge about military affairs commented:

The announced goal was to shut down a family who were facilitating jihadi entry into Iraq. The intel was obviously good . . . so good we did a very risky and un-necessary thing, if the “goal” is as advertised: we endangered American helos and troops by inserting them conspicuously into hostile territory, needlessly endangering both and our prestige (imagine if something had gone wrong and the helos had tangled like in Iran after the Shah’s overthrow).

This was not a subtle operation. We could easily have sent exactly the same message — if a message we were sending — by using a drone and some smart munitions.

Something else was going on there — kidnapping, the appearance of kidnapping (to remove a friendly operative), computer theft, setting up sensors, or something else.

More, I am sure, in the coming days.

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