Damascus Bombings Bring Civil War Closer

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Two suicide car bombs detonated outside of Syrian intelligence headquarters on Wednesday, killing 55 civilians and security personnel and wounding nearly 400. The twin blasts bore the signature of Islamic terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda and demonstrated a new determination by the terrorists to intervene directly in what is now a simmering civil war in Syria. The US and UN both condemned the attacks, but suggested no new ideas on how to quell the slaughter, now in its 14 month, except to maintain the hope that the peace plan brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan might somehow calm the situation.

At this point, even Annan probably believes it to be a forlorn hope. He told the UN on Tuesday that President Assad is not abiding by any of the terms of the agreement and that this failure is leading to a full blown civil war that may spill over Syria’s borders, affecting Iraq, Lebanon, and other Middle East states. But Annan stubbornly maintains that the peace plan is the only hope to prevent such a catastrophe and that the UN monitors charged with enforcing the agreement should be allowed to continue their mission.

Blaming Western-backed terrorists for the Damascus attacks, President Assad pressed forward with his brutal crackdown. Artillery fire directed at civilians in Homs killed at least 10 people on Wednesday, as Assad continues to receive massive military support from Russia, while Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah continue to supply shock troops for Assad’s increasingly unreliable army.

No claim of responsibility for the bombing has been made, but Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal and other analysts suspect an al-Qaeda-linked militant group called the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant. The terrorist group has claimed responsibility for some recent attacks in Damascus, and Syria’s second largest city Aleppo. The US suspects Al-Qaeda in Iraq or one of its violent offshoots, which have recently moved into Syria to fight against the Alawite regime of Bashar Assad. Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One, “We do not believe (this) kind of attack that you saw in Damascus is representative of the opposition. There are clearly extremist elements in Syria, as we have said all along, who are trying to take advantage of the chaos in that country, chaos brought about by Assad’s brutal assault on his own people.”

Other analysts aren’t so sure that the opposition is completely blameless. Some Islamist elements of the Syrian opposition may be using the terrorists to completely militarize the conflict. The BBC points out that using terrorists “may be an especially attractive strategy at a moment when parts of the opposition are realising that no cavalry – whether Nato or the Arab League – is coming to rescue them.” That may be true, but the civilian Syrian National Council still holds out hope for Western military aid and it is unlikely they would risk alienating their benefactors by cooperating with terrorists.

But the opposition is pointing the finger at the Assad regime as the culprit. Brig. Gen. Moustafa el-Sheikh, head of the rebel Free Syrian Army’s military council, said that “no other parties in Syria … are technically capable of making such a huge explosion, except for the regime itself.” If the blame can be laid at the feet of AQI, this makes more sense. For years, the Assad regime established networks and conduits to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, assisting them in their efforts to sow sectarian strife that eventually led to a bloody civil war. Experts fear that blasts like this will only exacerbate sectarian divisions in Syria between the majority Sunni Muslims and the ruling Alawite minority.

Regardless of who is responsible, the blasts put a coda on Kofi Annan’s peace plan, which is now all but dead. The former secretary general made that clear when he briefed the Security Council on Tuesday, saying that President Assad has failed to implement any part of the 6-point plan he negotiated last month. Assad’s forces, along with his heavy weapons, were supposed to pull back from cities and towns; they have not done so. Assad has also failed to release political prisoners as he promised, allow foreign reporters into the country, or start a dialogue with the opposition. Annan has received an invitation from the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem to talk with President Assad, but what good would it do? It is clear at this point that Assad has no intention whatsoever of living up to his end of the bargain and would seek to use any visit by Annan as a propaganda ploy. Annan has not decided whether to go to Damascus or not.

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  • Schlomotion

    You keep linking to Patrick Martin's article. However, I fail to see in his article or yours how these bombings "bore the signature of Islamic terrorists." It is quite possible that you are full of crap.

    • Rick Moran

      It is quite possible you can't read.

      From the linked article:

      "It is noteworthy that bombings such as these do closely resemble the scale and technique of bombings carried out in Baghdad in the campaign by anti-Shia movements such as al-Qaeda of Mesopotamia. Many from that group and related movements are believed to have made their way to the fighting in Syria, in aid of the out-gunned opposition."

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Like all conflicts there are those who are nomadic mercenaries that do just what is stated,
        they move from conflict to conflict and do it for money or camel tails, whatever these people
        trade in, who knows? slaves,, some inducement. Not all combatants are ideologues one
        way or another but a more sinister element. I am thinking Assad controls most all weapons
        and the war is brought to him from outside of Syria……………..William

      • Schlomotion

        Scale and technique:

        The explosions went from small to bigger, e.g. an explosion.
        Technique: They made a "boom" sound.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          You're so bright. Did you have help, or did you do that comment all by yourself?

          I think you deserve a participation award. I'd even think you should be able to paste it together and nibble on the extra paste.

          • Looking4Sanity

            If he'd shut up and go away, I'd give him one of those Obama medals for "courageous restraint"!

        • Stephen_Brady

          Scale and technique:

          If a given terrorist group used a single -pound bliock of C4 in sub-compact cars, in neighborhoood or market settings, and another one uses a ton of C4 in a panel truck, in financial districts or aganst government buildings, I think you can safely deduce that … if an attack was made on a foreign embassy … the attack was by the latter group, and not the first.

          Both bombing techniques make a "boom" sound, but it takes intelligence (both real and government intel) to determine which group has attacked an embassy.

          The attacks in Syria follow a pattern. That you can't see the pattern tells me that you haven't "taken the course" in any intel community.

          • Schlomotion

            The FBI was claiming to sell C4 to OWS crackheads for $50 a pound. If they are simply giving it to "the Syrian opposition" then it's not to hard to come by a ton of it, is it? Do we forget where C4 comes from? Susan Rice is out here telling Assad that every day he clings to power the opposition will get worse. That makes it look like this bombing has all the signs of the US Cabinet and the Brookings Institution. I see a pattern of the US using "Al Qaeda" as mercenary forces and a client army.

          • Stephen_Brady

            The US has become the collective equivalent of Richard Nixon, if one listens to the Left and conspiracy theorists. I DO, however, believe that if proof could be offered that this was an Obama administration effort, we could bring down Obama's regime.

            Please, links. Prove it. I'd love for you to do this!

            [waiting expectantly, breathlessly, and hopefully!]

          • Schlomotion
          • Looking4Sanity

            No. Syria is Iran's pet, So is Russia.

          • Schlomotion

            Are you going to go to war with Iran?

          • Looking4Sanity

            Nah. If it gets rough enough, Obama will just institute the draft and send pansies like yourself over there. I figure you've got that one covered.

          • Schlomotion

            OK, because the way you were sounding off, I thought you might be armed and ready to go.

          • Looking4Sanity

            I am…but in chess, the worthless pawns go first. That would be you.

      • 11bravo

        Who cares? This is a bunch of muslim whack-a-doodles killing each other. None are innocent, it is just one fanatical group or the other. Again…WHO CARES!!!!

    • Fred Dawes

      Its all part of the bankers and the people who are behind the globalists the real group behind the islamic terrorists is the US AND THE OTHERS WHO Need control not in islam but inside the west it is the gang at the fed here inside our own government its not the left or the right wing guys its not obama who is just a monkey puppet of the bankers ( PS The globalists are not jews but are the dupes of the bankers and the end game the victims of the globalists )

  • crackerjack

    "…..former State Department official, Susan Slaughter, believes that eventually, the US will be forced to take a hand to resolve the situation: …."

    When, if ever, has the USA resolved any situation in Middeast? The USA has only a record of creating situations in the Middesat it cannot solve.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      What! You forget Obama will talk with them………..Ohmmmmmnnnn…………………….William

  • Silver Scumbag

    It is sad that this will come to an end. Hope not. Hope it lasts 10 years. Muslims killing Muslims. Is there anything more glorious than that?

    The USA get involved? – Stay home gringos; this is no longer 1945. The world loves you and hates you at the same time. When the USA enters a country, that country has no future because the USA has no future.

    Your debt is 16 trillion? Who the heck are you to comment on a different country?

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Are you a liberal muslim friendly marxist indoctrinated college student?

  • BS77

    It's amazing to think idiot leftists still think Israel is the "problem" in the MIddle East. When you look at countries like Syria where thousands have been exterminated in the past year, or Somalia, or Afghanistan, or Libya, Sudan, Iran….what do you see? Dictatorship, car bombings, suicide bombings, riots, deprivation, misery, war, war and more war. Israel is NOT the problem. Why aren't the moron marchers screaming and yelling outside the UN? Oh, I forgot…..not PC for the idiot left to condemn any country but Isreal.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Sharia, it's so predictable.

    • loonwatchhypocrisy

      You've hit the nail on the head!!

  • mrbean

    And then Syria will become an Islamic Theocracy allied with Iran, and the first thing they will do is seize Lebanon along with Hezbolla. And war with Israel will soon follow.

  • Arius

    I can tell you that the Christian Armenians in Syria are deathly afraid that Assad will fall to the Muslim Brotherhood (which includes Al Qaeda) and the Salafists. It's not that they like Assad, it's that they know that it will be much worse if the Islamists take power in Syria. As an American of Armenian descent I find it bizarre that the US supported the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in Egypt and Libya, and now Syria. Does the West have a death wish? Does the West know that it is promoting female bondage? Does the West know that Islam is in jihad against it? Does the West have a secret plan to surround Israel with implacable enemies? The West looks like morons on a death march.

  • BS77

    As in Libya, it must be very difficult and rough for young children, women and the elderly in Syria….It has to be very stressful for the Armenians, or Christians in many ME countries. Just imagine being a small child living in Syria……or many other similar countries. The terrible conditions, rioting, violence and lack of order, security or elemental living needs–this must be so traumatic for young mothers, their children….for older men and women Very sad. Contribute to SMILE TRAIN….to help children in medical need. Thanks

  • ebonystone

    So, some terrorists are setting off bombs, and some government troops are shooting civilians? And that makes a revolution? It looks more like everyday politics-as-usual for a Mid-East Moslem country to me. Just like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia …. Why should we intervene in Syria? We haven't done so in a dozen other countries that are just as bad or worse.

    • 11bravo

      and who really cares? NO ONE!!!!

  • dougjmiller

    Rick, the civil war in Syria has been raging for more than a year. These recent atrocities may mark a turning point, but the fighting didn't just start. As bad as the present dictatorship in Syria is, it's radical Islamic terrorists who will take over when the Assad regime falls. That is a far worse outcome for the Syrian people and regional stability.

  • Fred Dawes

    Its madness but understand who is really behind this move, by the way most of the world is being ran by dictators just Like obama; his orders to the military to set up camps here in the USA The ideals of many inside our own government are the same as any third world monke nationy. what to know more?

  • wctaqiyya

    Mr. Moran,
    Pardon me for noticing, but your article bemoans both the government's and opposition's acts of violence. Do you wish for both sides to lose? If so, I don't understand why you seem to promote the foolish idea of U.S. military involvement? Is expanding this conflict into a direct American confrontation with Russia a desirable goal? I just don't understand what point you are trying to make. For me, the Bashar regime is as good as gone. The main things keeping it afloat are the indecisiveness of Turkey and the resultant uncertainty of the opposition groups. Once Turkey has coerced the maximum amount of money, political support and good deals it can from the west, it will end Bashar's rule. Getting rid of Bashar is going to be the easy part of this soap opera. Turkey wants political cover and money to help it re-shape the new and confusingly diverse Syrian landscape, a most challenging task indeed. Will the Kurds get their own autonomous region and will they share it with the Christians? Will the Muslims settle down or will the Sunnis try to wipe out the Shia sects? Stay tuned, this action theater is just getting started.

  • UCSPanther

    Why stop it? Let it burn.

  • Terry

    Arabs killing thousands of arbs in an arab country? Well, I never!!

    Now, what's on the telly tonight?

  • mcwrath

    Its all very well to highlight assads bloody crackdown, but it is a civil war and wars are bloody. Not to mention the results of the so called 'arab spring' where islamic fundamentalists get power.. as bad as assad may be why on earth do you think these rebels would ever create a less oppressive society. It mould more likely be worse; a tyrany by the majority sunni. In short, why – and I hope not – should America get involved. See how grateful the mujahadeen were for american assistance aganst the soviets…They will take what they need and still shoot you in the back..
    In fact it might be a good idea to let them bleed eachother white.

  • loonwatchhypocrisy

    This is how the Muslim world behaves the elephant in the room is Islam and the various interpretations. Arab society is tribal and ethnic as well as sectarian. The west should only intervene if there is a threat of weapons proliferation or terrorism, then devastating force should be applied these people only understand the language of force the west however doesn't understand this simple fact and lacks resolve.

    The Arab world is awash with arms and oil money let them look after themselves instead of asking the West to intervene then complaining about the way the west intervened after the fact. I'm sick to death of these primitive throwbacks.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Good can come of it in the end.
    Our own revolution made this freedom of speech possible.

    The question is, what are they fighting for? I don't see that either side is fighting for anything noble. That's why it worries me.