Both sides of Syria’s civil war have been fortified by foreign fighters, including Chechens, Libyans, and now Iraqis.Iraqi Shiites are making their way to Syria to fight for the Assad regime. Iraqi Sunnis are fighting on the side of the rebels. Convoys of Iraqi buses ferry weapons to both sets of fighters. Armed Iraqi “pilgrims” defend Syrian religious sites. And coordinating this effort are Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Iraqi Shiite political groups.As the NYT reports:
Some Iraqi Shiites are traveling to Tehran first, where the Iranian government, Syria’s chief regional ally, is flying them to Damascus, Syria’s capital. Others take tour buses from the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Iraq, on the pretext of making a pilgrimage to an important Shiite shrine in Damascus that for months has been protected by armed Iraqis. While the buses do carry pilgrims, Iraqi Shiite leaders say, they are also ferrying weapons, supplies and fighters to aid the Syrian government.
This battle won’t stay inside Syria. When it finally ends, whether Butcher Assad is still around or not, fighters and weapons will move on to the next war zone.Meanwhile, Iraq’s sectarian conflict rages on. Over the past few months, Sunni terrorists have struck Shiite targets numerous times in a bid to reenergize the bloody civil war. With Sunni and Shia Iraqis fighting each other in Syria, there is real danger that Iraq’s own sectarian trouble will explode again.