First Published: 2005-11-01

 
Talabani: Iraq cannot stop US using bases against Syria
 

Iraqi president says he is opposed to military action against Syria, Israel welcomes UN resolution.

 

Middle East Online

Syria feels more isolated

DUBAI - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he opposed military action against neighbouring Syria but lacked the power to prevent US troops from using his country as a launchpad if it chose to do so.

"I categorically refuse the use of Iraqi soil to launch a military strike against Syria or any other Arab country," Talabani told the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview published Tuesday.

"But at the end of the day my ability to confront the US military is limited and I cannot impose on them my will."

Talabani spoke before the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday demanding full Syrian cooperation with a UN inquiry into the assassination in Beirut in February of five-time Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had stern words for Syria in her speech to the council accusing it of supporting terrorism, interfering in the affairs of neighbouring countries and having a "destabilising behaviour in the Middle East."

The Iraqi government and its US backers have long accused Syria of not doing enough to prevent the flow of men and materiel across its borders to insurgents fighting US-backed troops in Iraq.

On Monday, US warplanes struck what commanders described as a house sheltering an "Al-Qaeda cell leader" near the border town of Al-Qaim, in the latest in a string of operations against suspected foreign fighters in the region.

But medics in the town and Arabic media reports spoke of 35-plus civilian deaths in the air strike.

Meanwhile, Israel welcomed the UN Security Council resolution.

"Israel supports the international community's efforts to investigate and uncover the truth about the Rafiq Hariri attack," foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

"We are happy to see that the rules of the game and the kind of action we were accustomed to for many years in Lebanon is no longer acceptable and subject to condemnation from the international community," he added.

A UN inquiry obtained witness testimony linking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brother, Maher, chief of the presidential guard, and brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, head of military intelligence, to the murder.

Israel also urged full implementation of UN resolution 1559, adopted in September 2004, in order to end all Syrian domination of Lebanon.

Regev said Israel supported a UN report last week that focusing on 1559, calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops, and the disbanding of Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah and 12 Palestinian groups in the country.

"We found this report completely satisfactory and we call for the complete implementation, as quickly as possible, of resolution 1559," he said.

The report, drawn up by UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, made clear that the Shebaa Farms were not part of Lebanon and that Israel's presence in the area was nothing more than an excuse for anti-Israeli raids, the spokesman said.

The small mountainous Shebaa Farms territory lies at the convergence of the Lebanese-Syrian-Israeli borders. Israel captured the area from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, and it is now claimed by Lebanon with Damascus's consent.

Israeli troops have retained control of the area since their withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000.

 

Marzouki, Essebsi set for runoff in Tunisia presidential vote

After failure of boycott, Bahrain Shiite opposition resorts to accusations

Southern Morocco storms claim eight lives

Iraqi forces retake areas near Iran border from jihadists

Islamic finance doubles in size with demand forecast soaring to new heights

Biden wraps up Turkey visit without breakthrough on Syria

Sudan launches investigation into claims of 'mass rape' in Darfur village

Assad urges ‘real pressure’ on backers of 'terror'

Israel eyes powers to revoke rights of Arab residents

Iraq death sentence to ex- PM threatens to damage ties with powerful tribe

Iran hardliners resist possible nuclear deal in rare protest

Tunisia votes for president in first free and multi-candidate election

Hope for change and stability as Tunisia prepares to elect new president

Saudi detainee sent home as US speeds up Guantanamo repatriations

Economy and security top agenda of Sisi’s first European tour

Benghazi attack report clears Obama administration of serious charges

Voters bet on stability in crucial Bahrain elections

Hurdles remain high as Iran and world powers press on for nuclear pact

Shebab ‘revenge’ attack leaves 28 innocents dead in Kenya

Strains between Washington and Ankara despite declared agreement

Paypal teams up with AttijariWafa Bank to boost Morocco exports

UN begins sending winter aid to Iraq

Turkey launches all-out war against bonzai drug

Turkey to build bridge across Dardanelles to ease traffic

IS launch major attack on Ramadi

Biden: You cannot think free where you cannot challenge orthodoxy

Does Abbas have enough political influence to stop violence in Jerusalem?

Turkey offers military assistance to Iraq

Bomb hits police post near Helwan University in Egypt

UN demands staff member release in South Sudan

Tunisia goes for democracy to counter schemes of Ennahda and Marzouki

US envoy: IS ‘impaled itself’ on Kobane

Iran sees ‘no more room’ for talks on design of Arak reactor

Morocco King and Biden discuss ‘compelling alternative’ to dissuade potential jihadists

In response to Amnesty report: UAE remains committed to protection of human rights

World blacklists Ansar al-Sharia group in Libya

Dempsey places heavy responsibility on Iraq fractured army

Ladies first at Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Barbarism of suicide bombers rocks Arbil in fresh bloody attack

Egypt gives its blessing to Qatar return to Arab fold

France identifies second citizen in IS execution video

Israel returns to policy of punitive house demolitions

France reveals worrying numbers: More than 1000 jihadist nationals in Syria

Without Khamenei support, Rouhani risks much in Iran nuclear gamble

Saudi King urges Egypt to support Qatar return to Arab fold