called on the UN Security Council to condemn an American commando raid
on a Syrian village near the Iraqi border last Sunday. The attack has
been denounced by the Arab League, Iran and the puppet government of
Iraq, which had no prior knowledge of the American action.
The Syrians say they will retaliate if there are any further incursions
from US imperialism. Syria, according to Russian sources, is pressing
Moscow for the speedy delivery of new missile defences. They are
considering ordering more Russian arms in the future and an American
school and a US cultural centre in Damascus were shut down on
government orders on Tuesday.
In Damascus the Syrian Communist Party condemned and deplored the
incursion, which they said had added a new brutal crime to the black
record of American imperialism.
Nine civilians were killed, including three children, and 14 others
wounded when four Apache helicopter gunships attacked a farm building
in the village of Abu Kamal, a large transit and customs centre on the
Syrian Iraqi border near the Iraqi town of Qaim, a resistance
stronghold. American commandos then “cleared” the building which they
later claimed was an Al Qaeda centre, killing an Arab they say was a
senior Al Qaeda leader.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, in London for talks with the
British government, called this a “planned act” of “criminal and
terrorist aggression”. The Americans knew “full well that we stand
against al-Qaeda. They know full well we are trying to tighten our
border with Iraq”, he declared. But all the victims were unarmed
civilians and the Syrian minister vowed that “we would defend our
territories” if it happened again.
What the Americans hoped to gain by this show of force in the dying
embers of the Bush administration remains a mystery though many suspect
its intention was to derail Syrian efforts towards rapprochement with
the European Union and scupper the secret peace talks in Turkey, at
least until the new administrations are in place after the elections in
America and Israel.
But it has deeply embarrassed the puppet government in Iraq which has
recently strengthened relations with Syria, an ally of Iran, which the
sectarian Shia parties that dominate the government in Baghdad look to
as their real protector. Puppet Iraqi premier Nuri al Maliki initially
justified the murderous US raid on Monday. The next day he reversed his
position, doubtless after an Iranian word in his ear, to denounce the
raid and state that Iraq must not be used to stage attacks on other
The Maliki regime is still stalling on the American “status of forces
agreement” that would prolong the imperialist occupation of Iraq until
2011 and legally allow the Americans to use the whole country as a
strategic base to threaten Syria and Iran. This latest US provocation
has stiffened opposition to the deal which only has the guaranteed
support of the pro-American feudal Kurdish factions that run the
Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq.
The increasingly restless Shia leaders in Iraq are already looking to a
future without the American army to keep the Baathist-led resistance at
bay – when they believe they can stand on their own two feet, propped
up by the Islamic Republic of Iran and supported by Arab states like
Syria which have close ties with the Iranians.
The Iranians, of course, know they could easily be the next
target. But the Speaker of the Iranian parliament defiantly said that
Washington should pay for its mischief in Syria and Pakistan. Ali
Larijani said on Wednesday that the United States had repeatedly
attacked Pakistan in the past two months on the pretext of
anti-terrorism operations, killing tens of civilians. Larijani
regretted that such moves are being repeated in the friendly country of
Syria. Such measures are new adventurism in the region the consequences
of which cannot be controlled by Washington, he warned.