The tactical details aren’t clear, but the U.S. military has confirmed that special forces and helicopters have attacked targets across the Iraq border inside Syria. The raid was part of an effort to stop the flow of foreign terrorists across the Syrian border and into Iraq. The Syrian border, according to U.S. military sources, is the last one that is still porous and allows access to Iraq by foreign terrorists. The flow of foreign terrorists and money into Iraq has slowed to a fraction of what it was a year ago; sealing the border with Syria would reduce it even further.
I’m not sure why this sort of attack wasn’t carried out a long time ago, but it appears to be one more step by the administration toward turning over a stable Iraq to its successor.
UPDATE: A knowledgeable reader writes:
The announced goal was to shut down a family who were facilitating jihadi entry into Iraq. The intel was obviously good . . . so good we did a very risky and un-necessary thing, if the “goal” is as advertised: we endangered American helos and troops by inserting them conspicuously into hostile territory, needlessly endangering both and our prestige (imagine if something had gone wrong and the helos had tangled like in Iran after the Shah’s overthrow).
This was not a subtle operation. We could easily have sent exactly the same message — if a message we were sending — by using a drone and some smart munitions.
Something else was going on there — kidnapping, the appearance of kidnapping (to remove a friendly operative), computer theft, setting up sensors, or something else.
That sounds right.
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