Global News Journal

What really happened in the U.S. raid on Syria?

October 28, 2008

   So much of what passes for news in the Middle East is enveloped in shadow, with even seasoned observers reduced to weighing claim and counter-claim with little hard evidence to go on. Yet another example is the U.S. raid across the Syrian border on Sunday.
   Syria says the attack by U.S. forces inside Syria was a “terrorist aggression” which targeted a farm and killed eight civilians.
    A U.S. official said the raid by U.S. forces is believed to have killed a major al Qaeda operative, known as Abu Ghadiya, who helped smuggle foreign fighters into Iraq.
    But do we really know what happened?
    We do know that following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of  Iraq, Syria, which feared it was next on Washington’s list of rogue states for regime change, permitted the transit of Jihadi volunteers for the Iraqi insurgency fighting the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
    We also know that there have been similar attacks by U.S. forces near the Iraqi border, and also in Afghanistan and across the Afghan-Pakistan border. In at least two instances these operations have mistakenly hit a wedding party and civilian houses despite claims they were al Qaeda hideouts.
    We also know that the U.S. military has at least twice in the past carried out attacks across the Syrian border but this was the first time the obsessively secretive Syrian regime has gone public with it and allowed camera crews to reach the area and film the aftermath.
    Damascus is resentful because, as part of its attempt to improve its image internationally, it has clamped down on al Qaeda-inspired Islamist militants. It feels its efforts are not being recognised by Washington and that the Jihadis  are seeking reprisals.
   “I can tell you and explain that the terrorist explosion in Damacus in September happened because we tightened our border with Iraq. They (Jihadis) wanted revenge for what we are doing. Unfortunately they are not the only revenging party. Of course the Americans tried to ‘reward’ us by carrying out this (attack) ,” said Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.
    Given the credibility of all parties  in this affair it is going to be difficult to get to the the bottom of what happened.

Iraq: The calm before the storm?

October 15, 2008

 As soon as my plane landed in Baghdad airport earlier this month, I was struck by how much appeared to have changed since I left in March after more than three years’ reporting in Iraq.

The shadows that lie behind Beirut’s glitzy façade

October 6, 2008

Jouneih beachIn downtown Beirut, resurrected from the rubble of the 1975-90 civil war, one is spoilt for choice of smart restaurants, trendy bars and lively clubs. Performances by sexy Lebanese divas and belly dancers contribute generously to Lebanon’s gross domestic product by attracting Gulf Arab tourists enchanted with Lebanese talent and beauty — not necessarily in that order.

The new Iraq invasion: tacky, boring design

September 22, 2008

atlantis-in-dubai.jpgHaving escaped the plastic camels and plasterboard Islamic arches of the Gulf’s mostly soulless hotels and malls, my heart sank when I saw plans for “new Najaf”, to be built next to the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf in southern Iraq.

Are U.S. troops learning from cultural blunders in Iraq?

September 21, 2008

U.S. soldiers patrol a road in Mosul“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave that bottle of water in the vehicle,” Captain Adam Canon told me as I got out of the Humvee. We were about to meet some Iraqi army officers in the northern city of Mosul, one of Iraq’s insurgent hotspots. “It’s because it’s Ramadan. The men we’re about to meet haven’t had anything to drink in this heat the whole day and there’s still three hours to go.”

Iraq’s hot summer adds to challenge of Ramadan fast

September 15, 2008

When I was nine years old, I began fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It is a religious duty I love to carry out each year, to experience the sense of unity with Muslims who don’t eat or drink from dawn until sunset.

Bush, Iraq and the military brass

September 9, 2008

bush-mullen.jpgWASHINGTON – The Bush administration is often accused of ignoring military advice, using too few troops to invade and occupy Iraq and paying the price with a war that has lasted far longer and claimed many more lives than expected.

Surviving civil war in Baghdad; from slaughter to soccer

September 5, 2008

Posted by Aws Qusay

I left my home in Baghdad early that day, on tenterhooks as I headed to a job interview for which I had been preparing for weeks.

U.S. invasion of Iraq — For better or worse?

August 18, 2008

iraq.jpg(Posted by: Khalid al-Ansary)

The Iraqi government says it is negotiating a “time horizon” with the United States for withdrawing its troops from Iraq.

Iraq: was it all about the oil?

June 30, 2008

iraq-oil-minister-2.jpgFive years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, Iraq is throwing open its oil sector to foreign oil firms  in a way Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others in the region are reluctant to. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani says no company will have any special privilege.