Across the Bay

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gen. Odierno on Syria and Iraq

Important statements from Gen. Ray Odierno to al-Hayat (my translation from the Arabic):

General Odierno renewed accusations against Damascus of lending support to armed groups. He clarified in statements to al-Hayat that "during the past years Syria was lending indirect support to some of the fighters, on top of financial support." He added that Damascus "has not changed this type of interference and the American forces are watching that closely, and cannot interfere unless the Iraqi government requests it, that is for us to offer support and backup inside Iraqi territory and not outside it."

Regarding the evidence and documents displayed by Iraq in accusing Syria of supporting the perpetrators of the recent double bombings in Baghdad, and how convinced he was of that evidence, Odierno said: "there are armed groups that receive financial and logistical support from Syria," refusing to go into the evidence and confessions aired by the Iraqi government.

Regarding internationalizing the Syrian-Iraqi dispute, he said: "we support the Iraqi government's request that the UN moves to end the interference of all neighboring countries whose involvement in acts of violence or whose interference in Iraq's affairs have been proven." (Emphasis mine)

Update: Another major statement by Gen. Odierno:

"Syria continues to allow the facilitation of foreign fighters through Syria that both come into Iraq as well as, I believe, into Afghanistan," Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told reporters after meeting with Biden late Tuesday.

"We do know that there are some ex-Baathist elements that are in Syria that are funding operations in Iraq, and we also know that they are operating Web sites that encourage attacks inside of Iraq," Odierno said.