If you are hunting terrorists it is useful to go where the terrorists are. On Sunday U.S. Special Forces raided Sukkariyeh Farm near the town of Abu Kamal five miles inside the Syrian border with Iraq.
Meanwhile on Monday missiles struck the Pakistani village of Manduta in South Waziristan and took out at least two senior Taliban commanders. This was the 19th Predator strike in Pakistan since the beginning of August. Seems like the war on terrorism is back on.
The raid in Syria was particularly noteworthy. If reports are correct, it was a pinpoint raid to capture Abu Ghadian, al-Qaeda’s man in Syria, who was the group’s chief coordinator funneling arms and insurgents into Iraq. If he was in fact captured alive he may provide a profusion of useful intelligence. The computers, cell phones and other items scoped up in the raid surely will.
This operation is similar to the raid Colombia conducted in March against guerilla headquarters in Ecuador. The raid was very successful; FARC number-two man Raul Reyes was killed, and evidence was seized demonstrating the FARC’s ties to Venezuela and revealing numerous details about the personnel and inner workings of the guerilla group. Several operations quickly followed the incursion, since intelligence of this nature must be exploited while it is still hot.
In the case of the raid in Syria, secondary targets may already be in the process of being struck, in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. It is possible that Monday’s missile attack in western Pakistan was the result of actionable intelligence collected in eastern Syria. Surely any bad guy who suspects there was anything at Sukkariyeh Farm that pertains to him has already at least attempted to go to ground.
The Syrian government condemned the strike as “serious aggression” and a “war crime.” Hezbollah decried the “blatant violation of the sovereignty of an Arab state,” sensibly not addressing the legitimacy of their predilection for aggression against non-Arab states. Iran, sensing that it could be a candidate for a similar raid, expressed grave concern.
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