It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that jihadists, armaments, and suicide belts are being smuggled across the Syrian border into Iraq on a daily basis:
Iraqi security forces seized 200 explosive belts Wednesday along the Syrian border, a police spokesman said, reinforcing Baghdad's claims that its western neighbor isn't doing enough to stop the flow of fighters and weapons to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The belts were found during a search of a truck that had crossed into Iraq from Syria at the Waleed border station, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said.
Iraqi and U.S. authorities have long complained that Syria is not doing enough to stem the flow of weapons, ammunition and foreign fighters into Iraq. Syria insists it is trying to stop the flow but that it is impossible to seal off the long desert border.
But U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner told reporters that 60 to 80 foreign fighters enter Iraq "in any given month" -- 70% of them through Syria. He said up to 90% of the suicide attacks in Iraq were carried out by "foreign-born al-Qaeda terrorists."
This story will undoubtedly be met with outrage by neoconservatives embittered by the debacle in Iraq and bent on widening the war to draw in Syria and Iran. I have a serious question for such people: If the richest and most powerful country on the Earth cannot control its own borders how can we expect a poor country like Syria to?
Weighed down by 50-pound sacks of marijuana, they hike through the desert for days to reach remote drop-off points in the United States, then sneak back across the Mexican border.
They are seldom illegal immigrants, but drug runners, physically fit and able to carry heavy loads for long distances. In some cases, it's been the family business for generations.
Let's do some comparisons. Syria's GDP is around $75 billion. GDP of the US is $13,300 billion (or $13.3 trillion). Syria's defense budget is $2 billion while America's spending on defense (including the costs for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) is over $500 billion. The length of the US-Mexico border is 1951 miles while the length of the Iraqi-Syrian border is about 375 miles. All in all, we have about 200 times as much resources with which to protect a border that is only about 5 times longer than the border we expect the Syrians to seal.
I ask you, which of these two countries should have the greater ability to control its borders?
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