Senator Lieberman has been a supporter of the Global War On Terror and agrees with President Bush that the course in Iraq is correct. The Senator agrees with the Republicans so often, and has received so much grief at the hands of the Democrats that he has said that he may support the Republican Presidential Nominee. More importantly, the Senator makes Sense.
The United States is at last making significant progress against al Qaeda in Iraq--but the road to victory now requires cutting off al Qaeda's road to Iraq through Damascus.The Senator makes the case for defeating one of al Qaeda's best weapons in the Iraq War - Foreign Suicide Bombers. Since 80% to 90% of all suicide attacks are perpetrated by Foreign Fighters, most of whom come across the Iraq Border from Syria, we need a plan to stop the flow.
Thanks to Gen. David Petraeus's new counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, and the strength and skill of the American soldiers fighting there, al Qaeda in Iraq is now being routed from its former strongholds in Anbar and Diyala provinces. Many of Iraq's Sunni Arabs, meanwhile, are uniting with us against al Qaeda, alienated by the barbarism and brutality of their erstwhile allies.
That is why we now must focus on disrupting this flow of suicide bombers--and that means focusing on Syria, through which up to 80% of the Iraq-bound extremists transit. Indeed, even terrorists from countries that directly border Iraq travel by land via Syria to Iraq, instead of directly from their home countries, because of the permissive environment for terrorism that the Syrian government has fostered. Syria refuses to tighten its visa regime for individuals transiting its territory.Senator Lieberman believes that if we shut off the supply of Foreign al Qaeda Fighters, al Qaeda in Iraq would not survive. That's because they are al Qaeda's most powerful in addition to being their best weapon.
The topography and length of the Iraq-Syria border make attempts to prevent the border from being an entry point very ineffective. Ineffective, that is, because Syria makes no attempt to aid coalition efforts. In order to get into Iraq, the Foreign Recruits must first get to Syria, and most come through the Damascus International Airport. Given the Police State which exists in Syria, it is not logical to claim that the Damascus Authorities don't know what's happening.
This is not the first use of the Damascus airport by terrorists. It has long been the central transit point for Iranian weapons en route to Hezbollah, in violation of United Nations Security Council sanctions, as well as for al Qaeda operatives moving into and out of Lebanon.What should we do about this situation? Senator Lieberman suggests that when Congress reconveins next month...
Now the Damascus airport is the point of entry into Iraq for most of the suicide bombers who are killing innocent Iraqi citizens and American soldiers, and trying to break America's will in this war. It is therefore time to demand that the Syrian regime stop playing travel agent for al Qaeda in Iraq.
Responsible air carriers should be asked to stop flights into Damascus International, as long as it remains the main terminal of international terror. Despite its use by al Qaeda and Hezbollah terrorists, the airport continues to be serviced by many major non-U.S. carriers, including Alitalia, Air France, and British Airways.The time for the "Do Nothing" Congress to Do Something is now. This is a good start.
Interrupting the flow of foreign fighters would mean countless fewer suicide bombings in Iraq, and countless fewer innocent people murdered by the barbaric enemy we are fighting there. At a time when the al Qaeda network in Iraq is already under heavy stress thanks to American and Iraqi military operations, closing off the supply line through which al Qaeda in Iraq is armed with its most deadly weapons--suicide bombers--would be devastating to the terrorists' cause.
Simply put, for the U.S. and our Iraqi allies, defeating al Qaeda in Iraq means locking shut Syria's "Open Door" policy to terrorists. It is past time for Syria to do so.