Iraqi politicians warn US raid into Syria could hurt security deal

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi officials are warning that a U.S. special forces raid into Syria could be used for political purposes by opponents of the security pact under negotiation with the United States.

The agreement would extend the legal basis for American forces in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31. But opponents and other countries in the region have expressed concern that a long-term U.S. presence would allow the U.S. to use Iraq as a staging ground for attacks against its neighbors.

A prominent Kurdish politician claims the raid was carried out without the Iraqi government's knowledge and says it gives Iran reason to interfere in the debate over the security pact.

Meanwhile, a senior Shiite lawmaker says U.S. forces have been "acting provocatively" in areas where they've handed over security. He says it sends a message that "Iraq is not in control of its own affairs."

A government spokesman, however, calls the area where the raid took place "a theater of military operations where anti-Iraq terrorist activity takes place."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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