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.

 

France carries out first air strike in Iraq

Iran, six powers return to negotiating table

Airlines suspend flights to Sanaa for 24 hours

Jihadists to change tactics to avoid air strikes

Saudi Arabia to restore Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque

Turkey opens border to desperate Syrian Kurds

US accuses Assad of breaking pact on chemical weapons

‘Concerned’ US urges Iran to cooperate in UN nuclear probe

Syrian children given anaesthesia not measles vaccination

France ready to provide ‘aerial support’ in Iraq

Tunisia denies existence of plot to assassinate Beji Caid Essebsi

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'

Egypt court bails top 2011 revolt activist

Iran rejected US request to cooperate against IS