The Corner

Syria: a Huge Problem

While the trial of Saddam Hussein is commanding lots of attention right now, a far bigger problem than constructing the legal case against Saddam is securing him — and securing a place to have the trial of him and his henchmen. For that reason, among others, this Sunday Times of London story is unsettling. Syria is not only aiding the died-in-the-wool jihadists; it is pushing a Baathist revival. Obviously, this is the last news people will want to deal with, but it will be close to impossible to stabilize Iraq without dealing with Syria . . . and Iran. However unimaginable this may have sounded in December when he was unearthed from the spider-hole, it is not inconceivable that Saddam could be running Iraq again (or at least a large part of it) someday if he is not executed, if the Baathist support system is not demolished (in Syria too), and if an unstabilized Iraq plunges into civil war. There are many Iraqis who want to see Saddam executed, but there is a committed, well-armed, well-networked cabal that would like nothing better than to free him and restore him to power. This thing is not over yet, and as we are in it, we need to focus on winning it, decisively, before leaving.

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