On Monday, senior officials justified a weekend attack against a suspected Iraqi insurgent leader in Syria by saying the administration was operating under an expansive new definition of self-defense. The policy, officials said, provided a rationale for conventional strikes on militant targets in a sovereign nation without its consent — if that nation were unable or unwilling to halt the threat on its own.
While this new policy may make sense to Gates and Cheney, the repercussions – as markfromireland noted on Oxdown, are just beginning. With Syria withdrawing their forces from the border, forces tasked with keeping foreign fighters out of Iraq, the inevitable reaction amongst Awakening forces – many of whom share tribal allegiances that reach across the Syrian border, and Maliki’s decision to try and hold the border with additional police forces drawn from the hated SIIC/Badr trends, this one attack has the potential to cause major problems throughout the area – not to mention being pretty self-defeating if the administration actually wants to get agreement on SOFA.
Of course, Gates & Cheney Co are now claiming an Al Quaeda justification for the attack – though how this balances the downsides is beyond me.
Their claims of Al Quaeda activity don’t stop there. In a statement on the devastation of the Christian community in Mosul:
U.S. Department of Defense spokesman Geoff Morrell said the anti-Christian attacks and threats are partly "due to elements of al Qaeda that still enjoy some ability to operate up there."
How convenient when most reliable sources point instead to Kurdish forces as the real culprits – the same Kurds who are now sweet talking Washington with offers of permanent bases for US forces.
Further continuing the Burn the village to save it policy, on Friday US unmanned drones once again attacked Pakistan – with a death toll of 29 – and US forces killed three more Iraqi civilians – two when a “U.S. aircraft targeted a civilian vehicle” near Mosul and one woman in Baaquba when “U.S. Forces mistakenly opened fire.”
Is it any wonder, Iraqis have a very simple request for whoever is elected this coming Tuesday – as Sami Ibrahim told Xinhua:
Ibrahim expressed his hope that Obama would soon pull out U.S. troops from Iraq, saying "Get out of Iraq and leave us alone and we will solve our problems."
I suspect people in Syria and Pakistan feel the same way.