China Confidential has learned that Barack Obama's Middle East advisers are furious about America's daring attack against a Syrian enemy. The advisers, including Zbigniew Brzezinski,who was Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser, are privately accusing the Bush administration of a needless provocation of the Syrian regime, which Obama is eager to engage diplomatically.
AFP reports on the raid:
The United States mounted a rare cross-border raid into Syria to kill the head of a smuggling network feeding arms and foreign fighters to Iraq, a US official said Monday, signaling a more aggressive approach to insurgent sanctuaries.
The official identified the man targeted in Sunday's raid as Abu Ghadiya, describing him as "one of the most prominent foreign fighter facilitators in the region."
"The operation was successful," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He is believed to have been killed."
The official provided few details about the raid itself, but did not dispute Syrian accounts that helicopter-borne troops assaulted a site in the village of Al-Sukkiraya, eight kilometers (five miles) from the border.
The official Syrian press said eight civilians, including four children, were killed in the raid. Syrian state television showed a construction site with bloodstains on the ground, and bodies in a morgue.
The Syrian toll could not be independently verified, and White House and Pentagon officials would not comment.
US cross-border raids into Syria have been extremely rare, if not unprecedented, despite tension and occasional clashes over the years along the long open border between Iraq and Syria.
The raid was also striking in that it came with little more than a week to go before the US presidential elections.