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Date: 21/10/2014
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US Special Forces Syria ops: Was it a possible al Qaeda leader �Snatch�?

When the AP news flashed last night on the US Special Forces cross border attack into Syria from Iraq, I had posted this on Israpundit:

“Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem accused the United States earlier this year of not giving his country the equipment needed to prevent foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq. He said Washington feared Syria could use such equipment against Israel”. N.B. This US Special Forces attack inside Syria was heliborne and did not use armed Predator UAVsas was the case in the March, 2008 Sadr City battle. Could it be that intelligence was obtained on CBW WMDthat Syria may have been supplying to Al Qaeda foreign fighters? Just a few months ago, terrorist websites were chattering about how al Qaeda fighters in Iraq were being decimated. As Alice said in Wonderland: “curioser and curioser”.

Today, the Long War Journal has another explanation that appears to be credible: a ‘snatch’ operation of a senior al Qaeda commander in Syria.  Note this comment:

US special operations hunter-killer teams entered Syria in an attempt to capture Abu Ghadiya, a senior al Qaeda leader who has been in charge of the Syrian network since 2005. US intelligence analysts identified Ghadiya as the leader of the Syrian network, The Washington Post reported in July. Ghadiya was identified as a “major target” by the US military in February 2008.

This morning I had this exchange with a Viet Nam era fellow officer and West Point graduate, Class of ’59, Bob Roth:

As the article implies, I think it was an old fashioned "snatch." Probably both personnel and documents/computers. Most likely about Iran & Co. No other reason that I can see for a high profile raid when, as you correctly observe, a missile would do the job--preferably by the Israelis to keep us out of it.

My response:

As you and I agree knocking off a senior al Qaeda operative could have been done via Predator UAV as in the Sadr City ops in March.  This cross border special ops could have been to collect more direct evidence of Syrian involvement in facilitating the insertion of al Qaeda foreign fighters to engage in IED attacks against US and Iraqi forces in western Irag. If that is indeed the case, Syria is an ally/proxy for Iran where Revolutionary Guards have supplied experts and technology. Most of the al Qaeda foreign fighters have been Sunnis with a fair contingent of Saudis, Libyans, and others.  Note that our new ally, Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi's son was one of those foreign fighters in Iraq. How does it square with the internet chatter on al Qaeda chat room forums earlier this year indicating they were decimated by a combination of the Surge and the Sunni awakening in the Western provinces? 

Whatever the circumstances behind this cross border raid, rivaling those in Pakistan using Predator UAVs, there could be a late election campaign benefit. Note this from a comment to my earlier Israpundit post by “Yamit 82”:

Since there is nothing new here and the Syrians have always aided and abetted Terrorists in Iraq, the questions should be why all of a sudden NOW? What has changed? Could it be a last desperate effort by Bush to change the election subject away from the economy and onto a subject more helpful to Republicans and McCain?

We shall see what the military and political implications are of this stunning cross border incursion into Syria by US Special Ops.


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