But given the almost single-minded focus of hardcore Baathists on killing U.S. troops to this point, the embassy bombing might be too much of a departure. And the gut reaction of some experts is that the attack has the feel of al Qaeda. Notes Iraq specialist and Brookings Institute scholar Ken Pollock, “Based on no independent evidence, I think it’s probably 60-40 that this is the work of al Qaeda rather than regime loyalists.”
But one other set of possibilities must be examined. Iran and Syria are both suspected of getting their hands dirty in the ongoing fighting in central Iraq. Each nation has enormous contempt for Jordan, not the least because the moderate state long ago made a real, lasting peace with Israel. Back in the mid-1990’s, both Syria and Iran chose to support the fundamentalist Shi’ite Iraqi opposition groups, not the pro-Western organizations allied with Jordan. Granted, it’s hard to imagine that either country would be so stupid as to back an open attack on a neighboring Arab nation, but then again, neither Iran nor Syria is up to any good in Iraq.
Regardless of its role in the embassy bombing, though, Syria is certainly going to command an even greater share of U.S. attention as long as thugs and terrorists keep getting a free pass across the Syrian border into Iraq. With a heavily patrolled border, almost no one gets into Iraq without Syria’s knowledge—or permission.
Syria might be rolling out the red carpet to promote instability in Iraq—an outcome most Arab governments, not to mention al Qaeda, would love. A free and democratic Iraq can only represent one thing: draining the swamp of tyranny and terrorism that is the Middle East. Jordan deserves our gratitude for being a swamp-drainer and not part of the swamp.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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