What Can Syria Deliver in Iraq?

What Can Syria Deliver in Iraq?

DAMACUS, Syria -- The Iraq Study Group report said what Damascus wanted to hear about the urgency for a change of U.S. policy in Iraq and the need to engage both Damascus and Tehran in Iraqi affairs to minimize, if not end, the rising sectarian violence. Speaking to Al-Jazeera television recently, Buthaina Shaaban, Syria's minister of expatriate affairs, said that the report was a "very important step because it means ending this era of American meddling in the region and the U.S. occupation of Iraq."

Damascus has long objected to the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, and it has suffered for its stance by U.S.-imposed isolation since 2005, White House backing for several U.N. resolutions against Syria, and U.S. support for Syria's exodus from Lebanon in April 2005.

During the war and in its immediate aftermath, Syria turned a blind eye to the infiltration of jihadists across the Syria-Iraq border, fearing that if it prevented them from going to Iraq to unleash their anger against the Americans, the jihadists would take it out on the Syrian government and on their fellow Syrians. The U.S. sharply criticized Syria almost the minute the war ended in April 2003 for being unable to control its border. The Syrian government responded that the 600-kilometer border could not be easily controlled. Talk about lack of Syrian cooperation on the border issue began dying out in late 2004 and, in January 2005, then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visited Damascus and applauded Syria's efforts to control the Iraqi border. Many in the West, however, still felt that Syria was purposely maintaining lax security on its border to keep the United States bogged down in Iraq, thereby guarding against a U.S. military adventure in Syria.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to WPR’s fully searchable library of 16,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news and analysis from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • The Weekly Wrap-Up email, with highlights of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review