The regime is staying but can’t retake the country. Sunni needs are unmet, leading to the IS problem and a de facto Sunni pseudo-state forming. Will Syria end up partitioned between rebels & regime?
Senator Lieberman Will propose legislation to ban Damascus Airport. Here is the World Tribune article sent by t-desco (Thanks).
Damascus airport called Al Qaida hub
WASHINGTON — Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent Senator from Connecticut, has been recruiting support for legislation that would sanction Damascus International Airport.
Lieberman said the airport has become the major conduit for Al Qaida fighters to Iraq as well as Iranian weapons shipments to Lebanon. He based his assertion on briefings from the U.S. military.
On Thursday, the Bush administration released an unclassified version of a national intelligence estimate that supported Lieberman’s allegations against Syria. But the report said Damascus, despite its increase in support for militias in Iraq, has cracked down on Al Qaida in wake of a determination that the Islamic movement threatens Syrian national security.
Lieberman said U.S. intelligence has determined that the lion’s share of Sunni volunteers fly into Damascus International Airport and then proceed overland to Iraq. He said this makes Damascus the hub of Al Qaida travel in the Middle East.
Congressional sources said House and Senate members were discussing sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The sources said Congress has been briefed by U.S. military commanders who said Syria continues to serve as the main conduit for volunteers for the Sunni insurgency in neighboring Iraq.
“There is a feeling that something has to be done,” a senior congressional staffer said.
Officials said about 80 volunteers per month have been processed and trained in Syria before being sent to strike Shi’ite and U.S.-led coalition targets in Iraq. They said most of the volunteers, who meet their handlers in Syria, were assigned suicide bombing missions in Iraq.…
The proposed legislation, expected to be introduced in Congress in September, would ban Damascus International Airport to international carriers. The sources said the sanctions could affect the U.S. activities of airlines that violate the proposed sanctions.
Alitalia, Air France and British Airways conduct regular flights to Damascus. U.S. carriers do not fly to Syria.
1. Frank al Irlandi
Oh well I expect we will just have to fly to Halab instead unless of course Aeroflot continues its flights to Damascus.
There are of course lots of airlines who don’t fly to the US so we can always use one of those.
Perhaps somone can tap Senator Lieberman on the shoulder and point out to him that anybody on a mission wouldn’t be daft enough to fly BA or Air France.
The man is having a Senior Moment.
August 26th, 2007, 10:26 am
I’ve heard reports that foreign fighters and mercenaries (some in uniform; some not; all with American accents) infiltrate Iraq through Baghdad airport. Maybe the U.S. Congress should do something about that.
August 26th, 2007, 10:36 am
3. Frank al Irlandi
I wonder if the European Commission might have views on this
I am sure it contravenes the rules of WTO.
August 26th, 2007, 12:04 pm
4. George Ajjan
The major carriers that fly to Damascus (including the atrocious BMED) from European cities also fly to Tehran.
August 26th, 2007, 12:39 pm
Lieberman is deranged, his new proposal operates under the premise that the US rules the world. I think BMED and Air France will laugh in the face of the US. It’s ironic that when Syria and Iran fund a militia in Iraq they are the ‘Axis of Evil’, but the US funding, and amnesty, of Iraqi militias is simply puruing ‘peace’. Maybe the US should just shut down the world until they find out who’s behind Iraqi insurgencies, or look in the mirror.
Why doesn’t the US go after known supporters of terror, like Saudi, who a few months ago publicly said they would support Sunni insurgents, or Pakistan support of terror in Kashmir. I guess you’re only a state sponsor of terror if the US doesn’t like you. US policy is so confused right now I don’t think they know which way is up, majnooon.
August 26th, 2007, 2:12 pm
6. Nur al-Cubicle
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Likud Party, Connecticut)
August 26th, 2007, 5:08 pm
7. don Keely-an
The proposal on the part of the senator from the Great State of Connecticut can be seen as a measure of the support for engaging the perpetrators acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. For the anti-Syrian crowd this sounds relatively civil compared to the calls for decapitation and air assault that typify those sensitive to the acts perpetrated by the likes of some of Syria’s more infamous guests, i.e. Hizbolla, etc…
There is also evident in the call for sanctions against foreign carriers an element of diplomacy that amounts to setting the table for U.S.-Euro strategy. A lot of the neocons who created the policy of unilateral intervention have since left their positions of influence in the White House. With new leadership in England and France, something of a new alliance is bound to be forged as a matter of course.Also, events in Lebanon have put the U.S. and France in a partnership in the area of Syrian affairs.
I would not dismiss the words of the man who, as an independent in the Democratic caucus, goes to work every day with the power to flip allegiance and with it the control of the U.S. to the Republican party. If Democrats are planning on packing up and leaving Iraq to leave the oil reserves of the Middle East to the enemies of Israel, they are going to have to keep in mind that Lieberman will not approve.
August 26th, 2007, 8:46 pm
In 2000 when my husband and I prepared for our first trip to Syria, I called British Airways to get a quote on airline tickets. They told me that they could not sell me tickets to Damascus because, according to the agent I spoke with, British Airways would fly us from DC to London but from London to Damascus their partner carrier was SyrianAir and they told me that it is “illegal” to sell tickets on SyrianAir to anyone in the United States. Does anyone know what that was about? It seems like every time somebody wants to “punish” Syria (such as in the Syria Accountability Act) there is always some mention of “sanctioning” air travel to Syria of some kind when in fact it seems that there are already plenty of restrictions considering that no domestic carriers serve Syria at all and the options for flying on foreign carriers from the US are also very limited.
August 26th, 2007, 9:38 pm
It realy shows how little leverage the US has in the region. The way I understood the proposal; any carrier that flies to Damascus will be banned from flying to the US. So many of these companies will create subsidiaries and operate without US interference. The EU will also find another bone of contention about punishing European carriers and limiting free trade let alone the need to engage the neighbors of Iraq in stabilizing the situation. Finally, it will boost the sales of Syrian Airlines. If we are winning in Iraq, Senator Lieberman would not bother to bring up this legislation.
August 27th, 2007, 1:56 am
Yes, the Regime is now instructing its security services to hide behind Syrian Airlines as a cover! Man this regime is smart, got to give them credit, While Joe Israel Liebermann is at it, why does he not ask for intelligence on Syria Telecom, Syria Oil, Syria Electricity, Syrian Agriculture, and id bet my life on it that the CIA would tell him , yes they are also facilitating Jihadis every where as well, Yes got to give American Intelligence a leg up here, it was the same institution that bombed a Milk factory in Africa that was masquarading as a chemical factory.
How does Joe plan to propose this legistlation and enforce it through the UN? World court? Congress? Better still why not drop a couple of Bunker Buster bombs through The Damascus terminals, that will stop the planes landing! Then the Jihadis will get the Camel express to Iraq, and maim and kill more civilians and soldiers!
Word of advice to Joe if he tunes in to Syria Comment; Propose legistlation to get your occupying army out of Iraq instead, you will be surprised how little damage the the Jihadis will do to your soldiers, and watch how the injury and death count goes down, you will be extremely surprised.
August 27th, 2007, 4:04 am
Senator Lieberman … his latest invention reminded me of the 2004 elections when CNN analysts were commenting on how complicated his politics are … that they can not figure out if he is really a democrat or a republican, a liberal or a conservative.
Some analyst shoudl have explained to them that he is a hard line old fashioned pure Likudist … which explains most of his “independent” positions on mideast issues.
August 27th, 2007, 9:03 am
Re: Lieberman’s silly legislation
I suppose I’m not very surprised to see this coming from Lieberman. It’s more baseless information hoping to catch a following on the bandwagon.
If the U.S. forces really knew who was going in and out of the Damascus International Airport then they would also see there are now 2 Million displaced Iraqis in Syria, most of which are in Syria legally, all as fallout from the illegal U.S. war in Iraq. In fact, there is apparently a new U.S. study which states there are more children fighters (all Iraqi) than foreign fighters in Iraq now… so who’s flying in to Damascus
I have just spent the last hour watching The Early Show and realised that all the news about Iraq is now placing blame on Iraqis for the hellacious situation in that country. How absolutely ridiculous! As if the initial invasion and ongoing occupation is not the real reason why the situation is so dire in that country. All that intelligence and they don’t know that what people are fighthing about (whether it’s AQ or the Saderists), they would realise that it’s about who works with the occupying forces…that’s why people really get killed in Iraq. Oh and mind you, the news of Iraq only appeared after we find out that Hulk Hogan’s son was in a car crash….
The blame for the tremendous U.S. F*&@ Up in Iraq is being placed everywhere and anywhere it will land, except for where it really needs to be, on the entire U.S. population for being the stupidest group of citizens on this planet and their idiotic leader. I hope God forgives them all.
And lastly, if Lieberman had any credibility he would’ve won with his
runningmate the U.S. Presidential election back in 2000, but not even the American population believe him…and that’s gotta be low.
August 27th, 2007, 12:45 pm
This US admnistration seems to use just anything to try to isolate Syria, and the result is that they are finding themselves and their allies in the region in deeper s…
August 27th, 2007, 12:49 pm
You must be completely confused or you just got a ticket agent that was again….stupid.
I personally flew with tickets purchased from BA and KLM (and family members flew with Air France) from Houston and/or Dallas stopping over in London/Amsterdam/Paris, respectively, with absolutely no problems from 98-2003 every year. Our bags were also checked all the way through, even when the flight was the following day.
Try flying to Damascus again…they don’t have the armed men standing at the gates anymore.
August 27th, 2007, 1:01 pm
Yes, Yes Alex you beat me to it.
August 27th, 2007, 2:20 pm
Senator Lieberman is merely hallucinating..we know who he is, we know what he stands for, and although it is not very polite to talk about people’s age, but we know how old he is too and of the diseases associated with such age brackets at times.. are we going to spend much more time discussing his words of …wisdom?
August 27th, 2007, 7:29 pm
“that they can not figure out if he is really a democrat or a republican, a liberal or a conservative.”
“and although it is not very polite to talk about people’s age, but we know how old he is too and of the diseases associated with such age brackets at times..”
I will be less than polite which is very strange for me!
Liebermann is in What we colloquially call in Australia a Dick head!
August 28th, 2007, 12:14 am
Leiberman wants America to fight Israel’s wars , he started by supporting the Iraq war and now by supporting an attack on Iran and Syria ,Leiberman does not miss a chance to sacrify America’s kids for the sake of Israel
Leibermen reprsents Israel in the Senate not the Americans people who elected him.
August 28th, 2007, 1:19 am
They calim that Alqaida fighters are arriving in Damascus before going to Iraq , They must be comming from somwhere ,mostly from KSA , MR Leibermen is better off asking KSA to ban their kids from traveling to Syria , That will solve the problem especily if he threaten the Saudis with lifting the American protection of their regime.
August 28th, 2007, 1:29 am
20. Friend in America
All right fellows, you have had some fun in bashing and many of your comments are intersting. But no one is looking at the issue straight on.
The imposition of visa requirements on Iraqis marks the end of Syria’s pan-Arabist policy of open door (no visas required) to any Arab citizen of another country. The terrorist traffic is the other side of this coin. Casualty reports from the Iraqi government found 90% of the suicide bombers have been non iraqis. The most common travel pattern is from the home country to Damascus International where the would be’s are met by a host courier and then transferred from safe house to safe house to the Iraqi border. The “would be’s” are easy to identify at the airport, their couriers are known, the location of the safe houses are known. Until now the Syrian government has refused to take any action. One could say by its inaction the Syrian government is complicit in the suicide assasinations of innocent Arabs in Iraq, but that topic is better on another thread. Maybe Josh should start one.
The long border with Iraq much of which is desolate desert is extremely porous, so evading legal check pints is easy if one does not mind walking 30k’s at night. But the airport is not difficult. Senator Leiberman’s bill (you may not like his proposal but Leiberman is no body’s fool) will not stop this trafficking – the “would be’ terrorists do not come from Western Europe. The bill is a device first to heighten international awareness and pressure on the Syrian government. Realpolitik analysis would suggest it is better for Syria to head this off by taking action now than to get involved in yet another international embroglio which will do Syria no good regardless of outcome.
Instead of distaining Leiberman’s proposal, let’s discuss the real topic. Should the goverment in Damascus continue to allow its country to be the travel route for those wishing to sneak into Iraq and kill other Arabs?
September 7th, 2007, 2:53 pm
21. Damascus » Blog Archives » Fares Spike as Iraqis Stream out of Damascus
[…] Proposed Legislation to Ban Damascus Airport to International …Lieberman said US intelligence has determined that the lion’s share of Sunni volunteers fly into Damascus International Airport and then proceed overland to Iraq. He said this makes Damascus the hub of Al Qaida travel in the Middle East … […]
October 22nd, 2007, 3:12 pm
Mail (will not be published) (required)
nine + = 16
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
Ehsani - Syrian-American Banker
Aron Lund - Swedish Analyst:
Admin & Contributor:
Matthew Barber - University of Chicago
© Syria Comment