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THE SYRIAN CONNECTION

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In the horrendous car bomb attack, committed in Baghdad on 08/18/2009, in which about 100 people were killed (see – Baghdad 08.19.09), the trails led the investigators to a Baathist group of former loyalists of Saddam Hussein’s regime, based and operating from Syria. The attack came a day after the Syrian President Bashar Assad met, on 08/17/2009,inBaghdad, with the Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki. They discussed bilateral issues and primarily the security issue of sealing the Iraqi-Syrian common border from terror dripping from Syria into Iraq.In a joint statement Bashar Assad promised full cooperation with Iraq over that issue. The attack created a diplomatic rift between Iraq and Syria (see – SYRIAN Double-face).

The last attack in Baghdad, on 10/25/2009, in which, so far, 153 people were killed (see – Baghdad 10.25.09), was carried out in the very same way and bares identical hallmarks. More than 60 security force members, including 11 senior officers, were arrested over the bombings in the capital Baghdad. Those arrested include the commanders of 15 checkpoints near to where the attacks took place.

On Saturday 10/31/2009 night, the Iraqi Interior Ministry website revealed that a man questioned in connection with a massive bomb attack in Baghdad has killed his interrogator before being shot himself. According to the official website the man, who was not identified, snatched a gun from a guard, wounding the guard, and killed the investigating officer. The incident occurred at about 22:00.

The announcement came after Baghdad has accused neighboring Syria of harboring the masterminds behind both attacks.

Meanwhile the United Nations confirmed a special envoy would be visiting Baghdad on the following day to make preliminary findings on security after last weekend’s bombings, similar to the attack against government offices in August. The nomination of the special UN envoy indicates that the attacks have their roots outside Iraq and that another UN country member might be involved in the bombings.

While the investigation in Iraq is closing in on Syria – its president Bashar Assad is visiting Croatia and Italy to boost the Syrian economic ties with Europe and mentions that the “The Syrian people are ready to peace with Israel”.

May be the people of Syria are, indeed, “ready to peace with Israel”. The question is whether the Syrian regime is ready to peace with its neighbors, to respect their sovereignty and to stop exporting terror to Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon and if Bashar Assad can evade accountability for the Baghdad atrocities.
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