NBC followed up on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's diplomacy with Syria last week in Egypt. Richard Engel looked into the Secretary's claims that Syria is the conduit for guerrillas and terrorists to enter Iraq. At official border crossings, Engel confirmed, "counterfeit passports are readily available on the black market" and it is easy to sneak across elsewhere since the line is often demarcated by nothing more than a berm.
As for Damascus itself, no entry visa is required for anyone from the Arab World and militants can "blend in among Iraqi refugees." Engel found support for Baathist anti-US sentiment--including a nightclub which features songs in praise of Saddam Hussein--but none for the al-Qaeda variety, which is "stirring sectarian tension." Ann Curry of NBC's Today sat down with President Bashar al-Assad, who insisted that he had deported 1,600 Lebanese al-Qaeda militants. She asked whether the government of Syria supports the insurgency against the government of Iraq: "This is a false allegation. This is devoid of logic. Again, how can I work against myself?" the president insisted.
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