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18 July 2012


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The Col wrote: "Now, I ask you, who blows himself up in a vehicular bombing?" Terrorists? I guess it depends on the location of the bombing. Greenwald makes the argument.


Perhaps it is REALLY time to examine the strategic or tactical repercussions of the collapse of the Syrian govt. It will be interesting to see if the Israelis well the collapse or not. But I see more breathless 'arab spring/summer' lite reporting.


Albayim, do you think there are similarities to the Tet offensive in Vietnam of this latest attack in Damascus? Perhaps someone in FSA have been reading Giap and Ho Chi Minh? If so, do you think maybe they acted a bit prematurely? I have been following the latest wires and it already seems that rebels have scored a major psychological and political victory, though I am certain that they will be wiped out unless they pull out and live another day to fight. And do you think Assad missed that last Aeroflot flight to Moscow?



The Tet Offensive was a much larger affair but IMO you are correct in thinking that the rebels are trying to trigger a collapse. I think thst this is premature. pl

Bill H

Why the daily attention from our media and the hyperventilation by pundits regarding Syria? What is our stake? What do we gain by the removal of Assad? It seems to me that, if anything, we lose but the the stakes for us are miniscule. Perhaps I am merely displaying my ignorance.


Perhaps this is more of a Stauffenberg scenario.

r whitman

When you change governments one of three things can happen:
1. The new govt is the same as the deposed one.
2. The new is better than the old
3. The new is worse than the old

Therefore you only have a one in three chance of improvement.

FB Ali

The officials were killed by a suicide bomber who was one of the guards inside the ministry. This action is typical of the Salafi and Al-Qaeda jihadis, who seem to be taking the lead in the fight against the Assad regime.

The people who initiated the campaign against the Syrian government and want it to fall are Saudi Arabia and Qatar. If they succeed, either an Islamist regime will take over or the country will descend into chaos, enabling jihadis to establish another base in the ME.

Why is the US supporting this effort? There has to be a reason other than naivety.


FB Ali et al

"There has to be a reason other than naivety." No. The US government is infested with and advised by people who do not understand history, ethnology, religion or anything that has actual relevence here. FB Ali is entirely correct in writing that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are responsible for this revolt. they have no meterial desiderata in this. Their support is entirely a result of wishing to see Sunnis run Syria once again. pl


Assad Regime: Iranian Ally

Neighboring Hezbolla in Lebanon: Iranian Proxy supported materially and logistically by Syria.

Turkey at odds now with Iran over Syria

Iran-Iraq-Syria axis on the verge of being decoupled.

From Iranian perspective: More bad in a bad year.

Jihadis in power? We will see.


The U.S. today sanctioned (pdf, see names at the end) every minister in the new Syrian cabinet.

This includes Ali Haidar, the new Minister of Reconciliation Affairs, who is a longtime (non-violent) opponent of the Baath regime. His son was killed in the recent troubles. The opposition said the regime did that. Haidar says he doesn't yet know who did it.

Al Akhbar recently had a remarkable interview with him: Syria’s Ali Haidar: Both Sides Have Extremists

What are such sanctions supposed to be useful for?


It seems like no matter who we choose we will get stuck with more of the neocons who want to invade/invite the world and be in hoc to the world to pay for it all. Heckuva job, Hillary. Does everyone in State start getting wet in the panties when little brown people are on tee vee saying 'democracy' and 'freedom', shutting down any logical capacity? Seems like it.

And now Romney is talking Condi Rice, Miss Affirmative Action SecState 'we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud' as a potential VP pick based off the 'advice' of Beltway insiders?

This should work out well.


Questions in my mind, anywayh:

1. Do the Israelis want Assad to fall?

2. Exactly how much DO the Iranians intend to support Assad? Enough to give blood, so to speak?

3. Exactly how much does Hezbollah support the regime? Same question, enough to give blood?

4. Can this be like Lebanon's Civil war? IOW.....no decisive outside help for the players in Syria equals protracted chaos? Maybe for years...like Lebanon. Or will this be over quickly one way or the other?

David Habakkuk

F.B. Ali,

A certain kind of naivety. To a large extent, it is the product of the fact that economic reasoning has come to be a dominant form of thought in Western societies. It has almost entirely supplanted the historical reasoning which would have come naturally to many members of British elites a few decades ago.

Among the paradoxical results of this, ironically, is the current economic crisis.


You may be correct, we will have to wait for the dust to settle.

A paragraph from the linked article:

"There were conflicting accounts of how the attack took place and competing claims about who carried it out. Lt. Malik al-Kurdi, the second in command of the Free Syrian Army troops in Turkey, claimed that it had plotted the attack. He said it was not a suicide bombing but "bombs planted around the national security building" that were set off by remote control."

If they did the above, then the insurgency would have shifted the momentum in their favor.


BBC's on-the-scene reporter easy this AM said that it was unusual that anyone could have passed through security in that building. It was in the diplomatic area of town. Security forces are saying the suspected bomber was a bodyguard in Assad's inner circle. What if he was carrying a briefcase that was detonated remotely, and knew nothing about it?

Medicine Man

You missed the best part, Tyler. One of the Beltway commandos touting Condi as a VP pick was Bill Kristol, also known for being a prime advocate for Sarah Palin as McCain's VP pick. The learning is strong in these ones.

Robert c

Vis-a-vis Rice, let's not forget how well she reacted to the August 2001 PDB "OBL determined to strike inside the US". She is the model of competence.



Putin indicates to Turkish PM that he is ready to throw Assad under the bus. Reports from journalists accompanying Erdogan to his visit of Russia today. Seems Russians are even more worried about chemical weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamists. 2 to 5 thousand Russian Marines ready in the base in Latakia to take preventive action.
Today was an incredible day with the bombing in Damascus, rarely things change so fast, so dramatically in one day.

Gorgon Stare

More likely, this was a present delivered by a US drone.

What's good for KSA is good for America.


Who are they going to make leave? The Alawites and other regime supporters live in Syria. Did they kill enough Russians to make them lose domestic political support for helping Syria?


By doing this, Assad’s regime will (probably) resort to even more violence and as was suggested by Fox news, Assad will surely use chemical weapons against the opposition. Could this be a prelude to NATO’s involvement?


Colonel Lang,
I have been a Fed and a contractor for much of my career. Most of that time has been spent within DoD or supporting DoD. My observations are not scientific but I would say that you are dead on. IMO we are in need of HHEs guiding our Foreign Policy and Intelligence Community. It would appear instead that a “Confederacy of Dunces” (fun novel by John Kennedy Toole) is leading the way. Ish habe Angst!

FB Ali

David Habbakuk,

“Economic reasoning” should be based on some profit/loss calculation. It should be apparent to Western governments that there is little gain for them in the Syrian crisis, and much potential for loss. However, the parties that would definitely gain are those whose interest lies in continuing and expanding the GWOT. They did very well out of the Cold War, and learnt during it how to effectively use the levers of power. They certainly can’t be accused of naivety (though a long-term view might see their actions as stupidity), while those who do their bidding are more venal than naive.

The naive are the ones who make the public case for these policies with all their talk of freedom, democracy, the welfare of the common people, the rights of women, etc etc.


FB Ali

I intrude, but this is my "place." DH answered your points. The idiot US foreign policy estsblishment has long lost the traditional value structure of the West. It now has nothing on which to base "judgment" except a monomaniacal obsession with the supreme "values" of self actualization and individual rightst. Ayn Rand has met Rousseau as the governing "thought" of Washington. The political Islamists promise FREEDOM of the masses. Well then they must be a good idea. The plutocrats whom you see behind everything do not figure in US foreign policy so long as the sitting administration does not take contracts away from individual companies. If the plutocracy ran the US Government the Jews and Israel would be in trouble because both are part of the risk structure, not the profit structure. There are no profits to be made in pursuing Israel's interests. pl



Thus far it is not clear to me what the nature of the attack was exactly. pl

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