The United States reportedly considered using military strikes against Syria to target training camps it believes operate there for the purpose of dispatching fighters to Iraq, a US report stated.
The US magazine Newsweek reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice voiced opposition to such a measure, opting instead for diplomatic isolation of Syria. Furthermore, all parties currently await the pending UN report regarding the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. The report may implicate Syrian authorities in Hariri's death, a fact which would have far-reaching political implications for Syria.
In recent weeks, clashes between American soldiers in Iraq have escalated considerably near Iraq's border with Syria. Consequently, the US has expressed public criticism of what it sees as Syria turning a blind eye to Iraq-bound fighters who train in Syria, and for allowing such fighters to pass into Iraq with relative freedom.
However, Imad Moustapha, Syria's ambassador to the United States, has insisted that Syria has in fact maintained a policy of detention for Islamic extremists.
The report also stated that all security and intelligence cooperation between the US and Syria ceased following Syria's frustration with the continued US accusations.
Moustapha added that Syria was willing to reinstate former cooperation with the US on the condition that such criticism cease. "We are willing to re-engage the moment you want but one condition," he told Newsweek, "You have to acknowledge that we are helping."
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )