For years, the threat of fighters entering Iraq through Syria seemed to have faded—but recent attacks show the al-Qaeda in Iraq pipeline is pumping again, the Washington Post reports. Soon after Iraqi elections, the number of militants entering via Syria had dropped to just a few, said an official. Now, that number is up to 20 a month, he said, amid worsening border security.
The threat at the border has been exacerbated by a fuel shortage; lower oil prices have hurt the Iraqi budget, driving the government to slice border patrol fuel funds. On Friday, two days after US officials arrived in Syria for talks, President Obama renewed sanctions against the country, saying it backed terrorism and was threatening progress in Iraq. US military officials aren't sure, however, whether Syrian leaders are actually aiding militants.