The US command has finally decided that the only way to plug the leaky Iraqi-Syrian border against the flow of anti-American fighters, weapons and terrorists is to build a wall.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military sources report that American engineering units together with US and Jordanian engineering firms have begun throwing up an earthwork barrier that will stretch 500 miles from the conjunction of the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi borders in the south to the Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi border junction in the north.
The first stretch is going up in the al Qaim province through which most of the illicit traffic passes from Syria to Iraq at a point opposite the Syrian Jabal al Tanf mountain at the foot of which Wadi Shal runs from Syria into western Iran. The first project is a bulwark to block this dry river wadi. Next, a barrier will be thrown up opposite the Syrian town of Abu Kamal where the Euphrates flows from Syria into Iraq. The section from the Jordanian border to the Euphrates will be 200 miles long.
From the Euphrates, the bulwark will turn north, traversing regions roamed for thousands of years without hindrance by nomadic Arabs. The barrier will circumvent the towns of Mosul and Sinjar from the west and wind up at the point where southern Turkey meets the Iraqi Kurdish town of Zako.
According to our sources, the barrier will be composed of five elements: A. An earthwork raised at its highest point to 3 meters, tall enough to defeat four-wheel drive vehicles. B. Deep trenches to prevent the crossing of light and heavy vehicles that will be dug in places where the earthwork cannot be raised high enough because of the lie of the land. C. Reinforced concrete cubes to block the many gulches and crevasses riddling the area. D. Water obstacles to obstruct river traffic. E. Electronic sensors scattered along the barrier’s length.
US Ground Commander Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who fought hard for the wall, has admitted it its not completely impermeable, but by obstructing vehicular movement, it can cut down considerably on the volume of illicit traffic entering from Syria.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military experts note that the project’s shortcoming is the same as every other American endeavor in Iraq, a chronic shortage of military personnel to man and maintain it against sabotage. The itinerant Syrian-Saudi tribes, who subsist on smuggling and who have been helping Syrian intelligence smuggle anti-US fighters and weapons into Iraq, have roamed the region freely from time immemorial. In just a few weeks, they will suddenly find themselves on either side of a wall. Their first instinct will be to knock it down by one means or another and they will not be deterred by any ground or air patrols.