RealNews

Near Iraq, Syria Reportedly Still Quietly Backs Militants

Islamic groups continue to operate, sources say. Assad may be trying to avoid alienating them and also to fend off U.S., preoccupied next door. With the U.S. focused on fighting resistance in Iraq, neighboring Syria continues to support militant Islamic groups designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department, according to analysts, prominent opponents of the government and Western diplomats. Despite intense U.S. pressure, Syria has not shut offices of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, who launched a mortar attack against Israel on Sunday, continue to receive weapons from Syria, sources said. Damascus also refuses to eliminate chemical and possibly biological weapons that the U.S. suspects Syria possesses, the sources said. Instead, President Bashar Assad is betting that the Bush administration stays occupied with its struggle in Iraq, the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and upcoming U.S. presidential elections, diplomats and analysts said. By making cosmetic changes and avoiding interference in Iraq, Assad hopes to fend off U.S. pressure and avoid making politically risky moves against the militant groups. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.