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
I thought Bush was CLEAR about that last nite no matter how much his verbalization stumbles???!!!
"Senators fear Iraq war may spill to Iran, Syria"
One can only hope.
It was a blunder of historic proportions to NOT follow the taking of Baghdad with immediate assaults on Damascus and Tehran. IMHO.
I don't understand what these Senators are worrying about, Iran and Syria continually tell us that they'll kick our ass if we enter their country. Lets give them the chance!
Yeah, just sit there and take it. How dare you wage real war on those who wage it on you.
Anyone who's had Stategery 101 could have figure it out long ago.
Why are they worried. Their lilly livered stinkin' behinds won't be doing anything other than whining and begging the enemy to forgive us.
Go fishing and kill some fish. It works for me.
You can be my second. :-)
I accept. Excuse me while I go out and buy the biggest pistol I can find.
Just seeing their names nearly makes my head explode. Watching Hagel today, I wish I owned a death ray.
In 1945, Hagel and Biden would no doubt have been alarmed at the prospect of our neat little wars in Europe and the Pacific spilling over into Nazi Germany and Japan.
And what are our troops supposed to do while the enemy crosses the borders and slaughter them. I have some advice for these Sanators, STFU and let the real men fight and win this war. Even I know that there will be no peace in the ME until Iran and Syria are dealt with.
LOL.......Oh, I get it.........I'm gonna pistol whip him and then you can finish him off.....LOL.
Let's do it on the Mall in Washington. High noon.
I'll just beat my dogs.
I think Bush;s plan is to draw them out in the open.We are going to have smack them down sooner or later.
I would pay better money to watch!!!
You're so right. Emails from the "theater" acknowledge this.
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