OpinionMeister

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Syria Turns Over Iraqi Baathist to Iraq

The Associated Press reports on the latest result of US pressure in the region. Link.
Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syrian authorities had captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother and 29 other officials of the deposed dictator's Baath Party in Syria and handed them over to Iraq in an apparent goodwill gesture.

Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, a former Saddam adviser suspected of financing insurgents after U.S. troops ousted Saddam, was captured in Hasakah in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border, two senior Iraqi officials told The Associated Press by telephone on condition of anonymity. Hasakah is about 30 miles from the Iraqi border.

They added that al-Hassan was captured and handed over to Iraqi authorities along with 29 other members of Saddam's collapsed Baath Party, whose Syrian branch has been in power in Damascus since 1963.

Bashar al-Assad badly overplayed his hand and is furiously trying to backpeddle. The Lebanese want Syrian troops out of Lebanon, following his too-cute-by-half murder plan. Israeli security spokesmen say the Tel Aviv bombing was directed from Syria, and there is nobody to stop the Israelis from retaliating. And George W. Bush keeps going public with descriptions of Syrian support for Iraqi terrorism.

As for the Syrians suddenly "finding" these Iraqi Baathists, it is implausible. It is far easier to believe that the Syrians were sponsoring these men for the last two years, but now they have reasons to betray them. Bashar must be wondering who will invade Syria first: Israel or the US.

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