Iraqi leaders, including President Jalal Talabani, have called on neighboring Syria to help prevent foreign insurgents from crossing into Iraq. President George W. Bush addressed the issue at a joint news conference with President Talabani in Washington:
"The Syrian government can do a lot more to prevent the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. These people are coming from Syria into Iraq and killing a lot of innocent people. They're trying to kill our folks, as well. . . .And the Syrian leader must understand we take his lack of action seriously. And the government is going to become more and more isolated as a result of two things: one, not being cooperative with the Iraqi government, in terms of securing Iraq; and two, not being fully transparent about what they did in Lebanon."
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad says that Syria is allowing violent extremists, including terrorists associated with Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi, to use its territory to enter Iraq:
"The vision of the people, the [Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al] Zarqawi people, for Iraq is not a democratic, unified, self-reliant successful Iraq. It's an Iraq that's very much what we saw in Afghanistan under the Taliban: an Islamic caliphate with a dark vision to take the region back, where women will not have the right to vote, where there will be no democracy, where there will be a center of international terror in a rich powerful country. That's their vision. And Syria is allowing forces who advocate that, who want to prevent Iraq from succeeding, to come across. Our patience is running out with Syria."
The Syrian government has said it is ready to do "whatever it takes" to cooperate with U.S. and Iraqi authorities in bringing security and stability to its neighbor. Iraq, the United States, and other countries helping Iraq's transition to democracy will be watching closely to see whether the Syrian government lives up to its promise.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.