Tuesday, June 16, 2009

US troops ask Syria to thwart al-Qa'ida offensive

Iraqi authorities say militants will launch attacks in order to claim credit for American military withdrawal

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad

"The Iraqi government expects al-Qa'ida and Baathist insurgent groups to launch a wave of attacks so they can take credit for compelling the US military to leave Iraqi cities by 30 June, according to a senior Iraqi minister.

An American military team was dispatched from Baghdad to Damascus at the weekend to demand that Syria help choke off a guerrilla offensive by imposing greater control over its border with Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari revealed in an interview with The Independent.

"I think the American rapprochement with the Syrians will be judged more by their co-operation, not in Lebanon, but in Iraq," said Mr Zebari. "This is a good moment for them to come clean." Although Syria has been more co-operative with Iraq than in the past, guerrilla fighters are still crossing over the border, he added......."

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