Don’t Be Too Quick to Thank the Assads!

Previous “Islamist” attacks in Syria have always looked suspicious, even staged, to most onlookers and analysts, their particular sympathies, be they pro-regime or anti-regime, notwithstanding. The reason for this was the choice of target, namely: empty buildings. Now, we have a seemingly more credible attack in terms of target selection, but the choice of methodsandtactics is truly problematic.

For blowing up gas containers will not cause even a dent in the heavily fortified walls of the American Embassy, and the only people who are likely to be hurt in such an attack are the security guards outside, and the line of innocent bystanders, mostly Syrians, waiting to apply for an American visa. Moreover, the pictures we saw on TV indicate that the car exploded at the entrance of the narrow alley where people stand in line, near the iron gate that leads into the Embassy, that is, in the area of least people concentration and least likelihood of being affected by the explosion. Add to this, the fact that one of the cars used in the attack was a van.

The problem with this is latter fact is that everybody in Syria knows that vans are simply not allowed to pass through certain sensitive areas and neighborhoods, and the Malki and Abu Rummaneh neighborhoods where the US Embassy is located, alongside many other western embassies and the domiciles of so many diplomats and high level Syrian officials, including our Illustrious President (may Allah increase him in stupidity and cut his reign short), are definitely the prime areas in this regard.

As such, for a van to simply waltz into the neighborhood is not exactly something that will go unnoticed by security agents. Indeed, security vehicles will be dispatched within seconds of the initial sighting to intercept the hapless vehicle. So, we have a situation here where either the terrorist group involved is made up of a bunch of buffoons and nitwits who thought that they could somehow rush into the Embassy and blow it up with gas containers before anyone could stop them, or we have to conclude that the entire event was intended and set up to fail from the very get-go.

Naturally, I tend to favor the latter alternative, simply because the marriage between the Syrian intelligence apparatuses and certain Islamist elements and the way these elements are used to further certain interests and policies of the regime is well-established by now. In fact, the case of the Syrian Turkmen smuggler-turned preacher, Abu’l Qa’qa’, is a clear testimony to this effect.

Indeed, the man had operated quite publicly in the 2003-4 period and helped recruit and send young Syrian and Arab jihadists to join the “resistance” in Iraq as part of the semi-official campaign that was underway at the time. But, and when the stench grew too strong for the authorities and they came under increasing pressures to curb the flow of jihadi elements to Iraq, and whatever public recruitment activities that were taken place at the time, Abu’l Qa’qa’ changed his tune and reinvented himself as a businessman and a philanthropist, He even did a few public appearances and interviews with the semi-official press at the time, before he all too quietly disappeared from the scene. But taped lectures by him resurfaced a few months ago when the authorities raided a suspected Islamist cell in the aftermath of the attack on an empty security building near the headquarters of the Syrian public TV in Damascus, an attack widely believed to have been staged as well, as it coincided with ongoing attempts to rally public support for the Assads. The authorities said at the time that Abu’l Qa’qa’ had, very conveniently, slipped out of the country.

Indeed, throughout the last few years, Islamist activities, both in Syria and neighboring countries, have been very conveniently timed to suit the interests of the Assads. This one is no exception. At a time when the future of the Syrian regime is still being debated, a reminder of the potential role that the Assads can play in the war against terror might be useful, at least for those who are willing to believe in the impossibly ludicrous.

11 thoughts on “Don’t Be Too Quick to Thank the Assads!

  1. was this a show?another page of assad tv that uses live fire and humans to shape results?do the assads really think they won the war with israel?

  2. This operation had the potential to be interesting when we learnt that one of the four participants survived the gunfire exchange. Here was a chance to interrogate him by an independent party to learn about this group’s prime affiliation. This was not to be of course. This morning we learnt that the fourth militant has died from injuries before Syrian authorities were able to interrogate him. How convenient? As soon as I had heard that one of the attackers survived, I had a strong feeling that he will not make it. As it turned out, my strong feelings were more than justified.

  3. Good Analysis Ammar, I said on Syria comment yesterday:This incident is very very suspicious and is designed and excuted by the Syrian regime desperate for International attention. Like the past 2-3 years, Whenever the regime is in trouble or has to bend down to international pressure, some bombing or attack is staged that helps no one but the regime. It is becoming so boring and so old news, my friend called me today to tell me about it and from the news I was able to dismiss it as a joke, then watching and listening to the media I became more convinced.Why there was little damage despite all these weapons, and why did not the car explode, and why only in Syria all the attacks produce little results, it is all a circus. The american media are buying it because they are hungry for terror news and anything bad in the middle east gets coverage. The problem is Syrians are bent on increasing the dose of terrorism until they are taken seriously. But Rice hinting that the Syrian regime is losing control is good because it makes them think twice before staging attacks to attract attention. The Syrian accusation of the US formenting terror is destined to quiet the street and push the people more and more toward the regime which can do whatever they want at this stage, no question asked. We are so lucky nowadays to be Syrians played by a smart but useless regime. They only help themselves and destroy the country in the process. Syrian cinema is good but the security apparatus dramas are so badly conceived…

  4. This is a copy of my post on syriacomment.com today:There is hardly anyone who believes the incident to be genuine.In Damascus, they never seem to let an opportunity pass without making themselves look like absolute fools. I am beginning to think they ARE fools. Clearly the infamous Mukhabarat has lost its touch. The CIA used to think of them as a bunch of thugs but useful and effective in fighting Islamic extremists and torturing prisoners on the CIA’s behalf. Now they probably think of them as a useless bunch of amateurs reduced to acting out the regime’s childish tactics. Please grow up and stop embarrassing us and insulting our intelligence!Prisoners Of Conscience

  5. Ammar,I just posted a note on Liberals and chances for democracy in the ME.I would like to hear your views ps

  6. Thank you for your helpful analysis, Ammar. My first reaction to the incident was that it had been staged—and then I wondered why I felt that way. It was just a gut reaction that it was contrived, a staged event. Great blog, I’m putting it on my list of daily reads. Thanks! Glad that you and your family are safe in the US. Best regards from Texas, lynne

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