The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Syria helping foreign fighters in Iraq?

Yesterday, Bush threatened Syria and Iran that if they continue to interfere in Iraqi internal affairs in the lead-up to Allawi's "election" on 30 January, there would be unspecified trouble against unspecified people.
Confusing? Yeah.....

The BBC filed this report this morning.

Two key parts:
1) Bush stated at the joint press conference with Berlusconi, "We will continue to make it clear, to both Syria and Iran that, as will other nations in our coalition... that meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq is not in their interests." - This is a guised threat against Syria.

2) Directly from the report, "As for Syria, the highest levels of government did not appear to have sanctioned such activity but there was a 'significant amount' of both financial support and movement across the border of foreign fighters, he [Bush] said." - Double-speak: Although we threaten Syria, its leaders may not be involved.

What does this mean?
Apparently they are very tenuously insinuating that Syria and Iran had something to do with the bomb in Karabala that killed 7 and wounded 30.

Yet if we go back a few weeks to the Fallujah report, there is no evidence that there was a massive influx of foreign fighters. Juan Cole also has several comments on Informed Comment in November documenting the lack of foreign fighters.

Are we to believe there are no foreign fighters in Fallujah because they are in Karbala?

And if we buy this logic leap, do we assume it is Iran and Syria and not Saudi or some place else from which these imagined army of foreign fighters come from?