Skip to comments.Senators fear Iraq war may spill to Iran, Syria
Posted on 01/11/2007 5:13:27 PM PST by Flavius
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic and Republican senators voiced strong concern on Thursday that the Iraq war could spread to neighboring Iran and Syria if the U.S. military were to chase militants across the border.
President Bush, who accuses Iran and Syria of fomenting the violence in Iraq, on Wednesday proposed sending 21,500 more U.S. troops to try to restore security nearly four years after the U.S.-led invasion.
Bush sparked worries that the conflict may widen by his comment that "we'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
U.S. officials said their plan was to disrupt such networks while staying inside Iraq, but their comments did not appear to mollify senior U.S. lawmakers.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden bluntly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice he did not think Bush had the authority to launch attacks to stamp out militant networks in Iran and Syria.
"If the president concluded he had to invade Iran ... or Syria in pursuit of these networks, I believe the present authorization granted the president to use force in Iraq does not cover that and he does need congressional authority to do that," said Biden.
"I just want to set that marker," added the Delaware Democrat, who later wrote Bush a letter asking for an "authoritative answer" on whether he believed U.S. forces could cross into Iran or Syria without congressional authorization.
In a testy hearing about Bush's new plan for Iraq, Rice said she did not want to speculate on the president's constitutional authority for such action.
NOTHING RULED OUT
"Obviously, the president isn't going to rule anything out to protect our troops, but the plan is to take down these networks in Iraq," she said.
Earlier on Thursday, U.S. forces stormed an Iranian government representative's office in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil and arrested five people, including diplomats.
We will continue to work with the Iraqis and use all of our power to limit and counter the activities of Iranian agents who are attacking our people and innocent civilians in Iraq," Rice said in a prepared statement given to the committee.
Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska also expressed concern about potential future U.S. action in Iran or Syria.
"You cannot sit here today -- not because you're dishonest or you don't understand -- but no one in our government can sit here today and tell Americans that we won't engage the Iranians and the Syrians cross-border," said Hagel, a Vietnam veteran and possible 2008 presidential candidate.
Several Republican and Democratic senators pressured the Bush administration to talk directly to Iran, but Rice repeated the administration's reluctance to do so unless Iran abandons sensitive atomic work, a step Tehran has so far rejected.
Rice suggested Iran might use a dialogue about Iraq to extort U.S. concessions on its nuclear program, a trade-off U.S. officials have rejected. The United States believes the program is aimed at building weapons, while Tehran says it is for generating electricity.
The United States has sought to pressure Iran over its nuclear program through a unanimous U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution that passed in December, but the top U.S. intelligence official suggested Iran's economy was resilient.
"Record oil revenues and manageable debt suggest that Iran is capable, for now, of weathering shocks to the economy," U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said in written testimony submitted to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Separately, key lawmakers warned they would insist that the Bush administration impose sanctions on China if Beijing pursues an agreement to develop Iranian gas fields.
The two countries in December announced a preliminary deal, believed worth $16 billion, for China to invest in Iran's north Pars gas field and to construct plants to produce liquefied natural gas.
(Additional reporting Sue Pleming)
© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved
"the Iraq war could spread to neighboring Iran and Syria if the U.S. military were to chase militants across the border. "
and somebody thinks this is a BAD thing?
What do they mean spread to Iran & Syria???? They have been in it all along and not on our side.
There, that's better.
I would pay good money to be able to pistol whip Chuck Hagel.
They sweated us invading Cambodia in 1970. Even limited, it was long overdue.
Since insurgents and weaponry are already crossing the borders of Syria and Iran into Iraq, aren't they sort of already spilling over into Iraq?
I hope it "spills over" and we handle the spill entirely from the air.
LOL. I like it. You nailed in right on the head.
I guess this means they would sooner the war continue to "spill" out of Iran and Syria into other parts of the world?
And then see someone feed him into a shredder feet first.
Cowardly, spineless, quivering, worthless senators fear.....Bush.
If you get the chance please allow me to help.
All RINOS need to hear from us loud and clear.
Murkowski, Coleman, Hagel, Voinovich, Warner,Snowe, Collins,Smith, Sununu, Lugar etc.
ROFL! I'd pay thousands of dollars to watch!
Right. I would like to know what senator buffoon's plan is? I already know the answer and that is they don't have one except withdraw and damn the consequences.
This is bull. We are in a war, and our troops are being attacked from Syria and Iran. It is well within the president's scope of authority to prosecute the war as necessary to destroy the enemy.
President Bush is the Commander-in-Chief, not Congress, and he has constitutional authority to manage the war.
Congress does have a constitutional remedy, if they believe that he is recklessly endangering the country: They can remove him from office. Go ahead and impeach him.
If they don't have the balls to try it, stay the hell out of the way.
My position: Iran and Syria should have had regime change years ago.
Time to bleed those bastards and level some of THEIR real estate and infrastructure...
My fondest dream -- is to see the vast landscape of Turdistan devoid of electrical power, clean water, multiple story buildings, functioning motor vehicles ----- much like it was in the 7th century to which these miscreants wish to return.
The surviving humans huddled around their small fire in the cold and dank cave -- whispering quietly in the dark about the warriors who came from the West and destroyed everything in sight....
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