Tuesday, October 28, 2008

US raid on Syria 'will hamper SOFA'

Exactly as I predicted:

Press TV reports that An Iraqi lawmaker has warned that Sunday's attack on Syria would negatively affect a security pact the US is insisting to sign with Iraq.

"The air strike will send a negative message to Iraq's neighbors," MP Abbass al-Bayati told Voices of Iraq news agency on Tuesday.

US commandoes onboard four helicopters attacked a Syrian border region on Sunday, killing at least eight civilians and wounding several others. Washington claims all victims of the attack were members of a terrorist network. Syrian officials and witnesses, however, have dismissed the allegations.

Al-Bayati said the timing of the US attack was wrong and could have negative consequences.

"I hope that this air strike will not affect the Iraq-Syria relations that have recently started to improve," the parliamentarian added.

The remarks were made just hours after the Iraqi Parliament voiced concern about the attack and called on the government to launch a probe into the incident and inform the legislative body.

Syria termed the incursion as a terrorist act and warned of retaliatory measures if the US launched similar attacks.

The military operation has also fueled the speculations that Washington might use Iraqi soil as a launch pad for further wars in the region if Baghdad signs the so-called Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

The controversial agreement has sparked outrage among Iraqi political and religious leaders who say SOFA would virtually put the war-torn country under the US's tutelage.