Joshua Landis at Syria Comment on the US allegedly launching a helicopter attack inside the country from Iraq:

[Syria] has refused to restart intelligence sharing with the US, which was broken off following the deterioration of relations in 2005. Petraeus sought to go to Damascus in December 2007 to restart intelligence sharing, but was forbidden from doing so by the White House.

Syria has been eager to restart intelligence sharing which would help to reduce cross border violations, but it demands a price - that the US recognize Syria’s assistance by returning an ambassador to Damascus. The White House has refused to do this, preferring to use sticks to force Syrian compliance. One must presume that the most recent killing of Syrians is designed to be just such a stick.

It will, of course, not force compliance, but the Bush administration must assume that an Obama victory on November 4 will force Syria to behave nicely in order to win favor with the new administration. Thus, White House analysts may assume that it can have a ‘freebe” taking a bit of personal revenge on Syria without the US paying a price. Damascus may just have to write it off as a good bye salute from its friends in Washington.

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