Last month, Syrians staged massive organized protests and an American school in Damascus was closed in response to a U.S. strike inside Syria, which killed top al-Qaida operative Abu Ghadiya. Now, in a surprise turn, the CIA has reportedly revealed that Syrian intelligence may have actually assisted the U.S. in the raid that purportedly enraged its people.
This is typical of the confusing saga of U.S.-Syria relations. After 9/11, Syria provided Washington with what was believed to be valuable intelligence about al-Qaeda in exchange for relative immunity in the war on terror. If this deal had not been struck, it is likely that Syria would have been named to the “Axis of Evil.” Since then, however, Syria’s role in the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005 and growing ties with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah have eroded American good will. Washington has also soured over Syrian aid to the insurgents who kill Americans inside Iraq.
It is still unclear whether the recent cooperation was a sign of renewed rapproachment, or if was it was an anomoly. The saga continues.