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Last Stand In Syria?

Top Syrian officials, killed in a suicide attack. Battle in Damascus. We’ll look at the endgame of Syria’s crisis.

In this Thursday Oct. 6, 2011 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, stands next to Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, right, during a ceremony to mark the 38th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in Damascus, Syria. Syria's state-run TV says the country's defense minister has been killed in a suicide blast in the capital. Wednesday's attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. (AP)

In this Thursday Oct. 6, 2011 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, stands next to Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, right, during a ceremony to mark the 38th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in Damascus, Syria. Syria’s state-run TV says the country’s defense minister has been killed in a suicide blast in the capital. Wednesday’s attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. (AP)

Guests

Clarissa Ward, foreign correspondent for CBS News.

Ausama Monajed, a member of the Syrian National Council and the executive director of London-based Strategic Research and Communication  Centre.

Tamara Wittes, is a senior fellow and the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

From Tom’s Reading List

al Jazeera “Syrian defence minister and his deputy have been killed after a suicide bomber struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior security officials, state media reported. General Daoud Rajha and Assef Shawkat – the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad – were killed on Wednesday in the deadliest assault on government officials since the violence began 16 months ago.”

BBC “Hours after the attack, several explosions were reported close to the base of an army division responsible for guarding the presidential palace. However Syria’s information minister denied that they had taken place.”

Wall Street Journal “For over a year, we’ve heard from Obama Administration officials that Western intervention would push Syria into a civil war, kill thousands and put the Assad regime’s stockpile of WMD at risk of falling into terrorist hands. The U.S. hasn’t intervened, and all of this has happened.”

Video: Street Fights In Syria

Check out this video from al Jazeera showing street battles in Damascus after bomb blasts that killed top Assad officials.

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  • joseph makela

    as the “superpowers” continue to furnish arms to any and every despot…It’s time to TAKE DOWN the military-industrial complex, heavy weapons to handguns to these nefarious gases being spewn all across the cradle of civilization (BTW how are these chemical weapons procured?) PEACE TO ALL 

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      I agree, but good luck with that.

  • Hidan

    I was always told by the U.S. media that Suicide bombers were terrorist,cowards,etc,etc. Seems the U.S. has no issues with it (as long as it’s supporting U.S. interest)

     I guess the U.S. war on terror seems to have some exceptions(Iraq,Iran,Libya,Syria) in what tactics are considered terrorism.

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      It isn’t really news that we are hypocrits.

  • Hidan

    Also worth noticing on the media coverage of syria is that while the Media(U.S.) and Western are reporting several explosions there are no attempts to get a causality count and if you actually look and see there’s very little reporting on causalities resulting from Rebels attacks(Though I would love for the Assad Regime to be taken down I rather the Media not play an propaganda role(Like Libya) in it’s reporting and actually report what’s going on. Also worth noting the disdain that the Western Press gives when someone says that foregin powers are involved with arming the rebels, yet often right after such disdain it talks about Saudi Arabi and Qatar arming “The Rebels”

    My solution is have Turkey(not the U.S.) take the lead. As well the WSJ post is crap since the U.S. is heavily involved behind the scenes and Clinton pure hypocrisy is on delay near daily.

    Also if one thinks Saudi Arabia wants democracy I like to point out Saudi Arabia Ban protest with the Threat of Death

    Glenn Greenwald has a great piece on this

    The Damascus suicide bombing

    Today’s killing of Assad officials raises
    uncomfortable questions about the meaning and justifiability of
    Terrorism

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/18/the_damascus_suicide_bombing/

    In Damascus today, a suicide bomber attacked a meeting of high level Syrian officials and killed several of them, including the nation’s Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and the Syrian military’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Asef Shawkat, who is also the brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Several reporters covering the region, such as Omar Waraich of Time and The Independent, have deduced that the suicide bomber was “Islamist.”

    Needless to say, if such an attack — perpetrated by an “Islamist” suicide bomber — were aimed at a Western government or those of their allies in the region, it would immediately be branded Terrorism and vehemently denounced. One need not speculate about that, as it has already happened. It was called the Pentagon part of the “9/11 attack,” where a plane was flown into America’s military headquarters. More analogous was Nidal Hasan’s 2009 assault on the U.S. military base at Fort Hood, which was instantly branded Terrorism by American media outlets, Washington officials, and a majority of Americans.

  • Akilez Castillo

    The Syrian people has decide now to unite to overthrow Al-Assad. If they Syrian people splits this will be a very long bloody civil war.

    America in Iraq and it will be easy.

  • Jasoturner

    What’s with that WSJ snippet?  The fact that we feared having the US precipitate a situation that ultimately emerged anyway indicates…What?  That the administration was wrong about what our intervention would have done?  That we’d be better off if the U.S. was vilified for directly promoting discord in Syria?

    Don’t know if these guys ever took a course in philosophy or logic, but they probably failed if they did.  And I certainly detect no information or insight in this snippet that is at all relevant to how America should now react to events in Syria.

    I dunno, pointless complaining like that just bugs me.  In a non-partisan fashion, I would add.

  • Guest

    Tom and Guest;
                         Is this what happens when the “government”, administration whatever, FAILS the people.What is the underlying cause of all these middle east countries going DOWN. Haves vs. have-nots .

  • Hidan

     Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings

    Saban Center for Middle East Policy is a research organization established at the Brookings Institution in 2002 through the donation of nearly $13 million by the Israeli media-mogul Haim Saban. Its current director is the veteran pro-Israel lobbyist Martin Indyk, who had earlier founded the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an AIPAC spinoff, to counter the Brooking Institution which was seen as not pro-Israel enough.
    Explaining his rationale behind the center, Saban told the New York Times:
    “I’ve heard from leaders on both sides of the aisle in the United States and leaders in Europe about what Sharon shouldn’t do,” he said. “I’ve haven’t heard one educated suggestion about what he should do.”

    sourcewatch. org/i ndex.php?title=Haim_Saban
    sourcewatch. org/ index.php?title=Saban_Center_for_Middle_East_Policy
    Saban center is junk

  • Hidan

    Yet to hear the “Operation” was a sucide bomber attack.

    Does your guests support sucide bombers?

  • Robbie

    There is no proof yet that the bomb blast even took place. Syrian State TV always shows pictures of blown up buildings. In this case they simply announced the deaths and showed no footage or stills.
    It is believed that there was a coup of sorts.
    Another odd thing is that Assad is MIA.
    Some say that he was wounded and his wife & two kids are already in Moscow.
    It is all still very murky at the moment.

  • Vasco DeGrabya

    Eight comments half-way through the topic.  I say again that Americans don’t generally care about Syria or the phenomenon you keep calling the “Arab Spring”.  It is looked upon with skepticism and the expectation that little will actually change.

    • AC

      i see on the news boards Russia & China have vetoed sanctions. The fact that they have allies at all adds to my personal trepidation in forming an opinion – it’s a confusion of information….off the cuff, it seems wrong and evil to attack your own citizens…

    • ana

      Though many of us care, it is vastly complicated and perhaps too much so to comment on intelligently, speaking for myself.
      It is in a presentation such as this that we learn, both from the speakers and those who share their insight in the comments.

  • Robert

    I’m following what is happening on the ground on Bambuzer and reading the tweets from the activists. Damascus is being pummeled at the moment. It’s starting to look like Homs.

  • Hidan

    Iraqi sectarian violence, Syria civil war? Wasn’t there an Iraqi Civil War? Sunni/Shia and what not?

    Run for the hills WMD’s.

  • Robert

    What happens the day after? What happens to Sheba Farms? What about Golan? This has been mishandled by the UN and the international community and now the activists have taken matters into their own hands. 
    What happens to the chemical weapons being stored in Tartus?

  • Samer

    As a Syrian American, the way I see this, outside powers took advantage of the rightful demands of some Syrian people for reforms, demands that Bashar Al-Assad himself admitted were needed and expressed desire in implementing them, and used these demands to create turmoil in the stable and prosperous Syria prior to this mess.  There is no talk about reforms anymore because reform is not the desired goal of these outside powers, the turmoil in Syria is the goal. I just wish these outside powers will leave Syria and the Syrian people alone.

    • Akilez Castillo

      If they are Fellow Syrians or other Arab nationalities?

    • Richard

      You’re right. The arms dealers are always at the ready to take advantage of situations such as in the early stages in Syria to make money regardless of the turmoil they create. what is human life to them…nothing really.

  • Robert

    Assad Regime just shelled a major mosque in central Damascus a few minutes ago.  
    Note that Ramadan starts tomorrow and situations like this are highly fueled during their holy month.

  • Richard

    The West is missing the real point here. Assad has openly accepted the Annan 6point plan and stated that it must not fail. So far the opposition has not come out to accept the plan. Nor do the world know who exactly they are. But if both sides were to accept the plan,will that not be the best way forward for peaceful transition to an eventual credible government in syria? This is why the Annan missionmust not fail.
    From what happened yesterday it may well be that Assad is right in saying that some foreign jihadist alquaedic elements are involved in the fighting. And keep also in mind that what we don’t hear enough of is that Assad has a significant support from a large segment of the populace and the issue currently in Syria is way more than just political. 

    • Caruso

       AL QAEDA = CIA/MOSSAD = destabilization

  • Robert

    Russia & Just vetoed the latest resolution a few minutes ago.
    Wow!  

    • Akilez Castillo

      GOOD!!!

  • Akilez Castillo

    Remember Vietnam: Hanoi

    If the Vietcong were able to attack Hanoi. The Vietnam war was finally over, this is the same what is happening in Damascus

    when rebels control cities it is the beginning of the end.

  • Steve_T

    The US needs to leave the area entirely This is not in our best interest.  We can help but not in the way we are doing it.
    Stop being the kid with a stick stirring  the ant hill.

    • Akilez Castillo

      We are already there right across the border is “Iraq”.

  • Akilez Castillo

    Russia and China are right to veto the sanction. It is not about business it is about human lives. Innocent Men, Women and Children will be affected. Millions will be affected without food and medical supplies from other countries.

    United Nation shame on you!!!!!

    You know that the sanction will not help the people of Syria.

    SANCTIONS NEVER WORK!!!!

  • Caruso

    What I have learned from this Syria conflict is that AL QAEDA is an operative or the CIA and the Mossad.

    When will Muslims and Arab Christians learn that the divide and conquer strategy is a lose-lose deal for them and a win-win for Israel.  

  • Dee

    Tom, I am outraged beyond belief….How dare the war mongersin our government along with the fanatical Zionists urging them on to seek to remove the Assad Regime because herightly opposed US/Zionist aggression in the region…..This is shocking aggression and it shouldn’t be tolerated…. And it is such a distortion and an exploitation of why the brave Syrian came out of their door last year and asked their government for democratic reforms …They didn’t ask for a Regime change nor indeed a counter insurgency which has since been waged upon them by the gangsters in Our government and the Zionist entity….People voice their collective protest in emilss to their elected officials and perhaps consider staging a protest outside their officies , in-addtion to US and Israeli Embassy at home and abroad. ..

    People need to stand up to those war mongers who put their 
    self interests above the peaceful and democratic reforms 
    of the Syrian people and their desire to work this out with 
    their government in a civil manner…….Dee

    P.S. Tom, I am appalled by your guest who suggested shak-
    ing Syrian to its foundation to bring down the Assad Regime 
    and throw his country into utter chaos……

    No doubt he is part of the gangster Zionist entity in the US 
    who are hell bent on Bombing Iran and dragging the US in-
    to a regional war…… 
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/opinion/keller-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-iran.html?pagewanted=allhttp://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jun2012/syri-j22.shtmlhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29234

  • Dee

    Tom, I am outraged beyond belief….How dare the war mongersin our government along with the fanatical Zionists urging them on to seek to remove the Assad Regime because herightly opposed US/Zionist aggression in the region…..This is shocking aggression and it shouldn’t be tolerated…. And it is such a distortion and an exploitation of why the brave Syrian came out of their door last year and asked their government for democratic reforms …They didn’t ask for a Regime change nor indeed a counter insurgency which has since been waged upon them by the gangsters in Our government and the Zionist entity….People voice their collective protest in emilss to their elected officials and perhaps consider staging a protest outside their officies , in-addtion to US and Israeli Embassy at home and abroad. ..

    People need to stand up to those war mongers who put their 
    self interests above the peaceful and democratic reforms 
    of the Syrian people and their desire to work this out with 
    their government in a civil manner…….Dee

    P.S. Tom, I am appalled by your guest who suggested shak-
    ing Syrian to its foundation to bring down the Assad Regime 
    and throw his country into utter chaos……

    No doubt he is part of the gangster Zionist entity in the US 
    who are hell bent on Bombing Iran and dragging the US in-
    to a regional war…… 

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/opinion/keller-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-iran.html?pagewanted=allhttp://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jun2012/syri-j22.shtmlhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29234

    I have no doubt those same fanatical Zionist elements are 
    at work today and have bullied their way into our govern-
    ment and are dictating US, Middle East Policy…

  • Dee

    Addendum:

    Here is the Israeli historian Avi Schlaim quoting the British 
    administrator in Palestine in a memo to the Foreign office 
    in 1948 on Americans giving rise to ” a gangster state” in 
    Israel. 

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/24/opinion/24iht-edshlaim_ed3_.html

    And this is the nightmare they have waged on the Pale-
    stinian people since 1948 when they drove them from 
    their villages and refused to have refused to allow them 
    to return to their homes… 

    This eye witness account sums up those events of 1948 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJrW-BhgMx0

    Now, I feel the world is living this nightmare the Arab 
    people have been living since Israel was established.
    .
    Especially, Americans whom the Zionists have dragged 
    into 6-8 regional wars against their arab neighbors in 
    region..And this continues today with the war on Irag, Afganistan, Libya, Syria and Iran….See the URL for the 
    details…there are all there…Dee

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby

  • Caruso

    Notice how few people are commenting.  Usually there are hundreds of comments.   The listeners of NPR are mostly pro-israel, and in this case they know that Israel is instigating this factional discord and it is ultimately responsible for the deaths in Syria.   But they sheepishly stay quite and sip their Starbucks, while the hypocrisy and warmongering continues.

    • Denise

       I thought they weren’t commenting because it has nothing to do with the US election.

      • har

         Links to Republicans are in the making…be patient.

    • Realist

      History shows us that Arabs don’t seem to need any instigation from outside to kill other Arabs.

      Supporters of Israel don’t need to say anything because the actions of the murderous Arab and Iranian regimes speak volumes.  Arabs and the people of Iran finally understand that they have more to fear from their own leaders than they have to from Israel.  The statistics are quite stark,  over 1.2 million deaths in the Iran Iraq war alone.  Over 20000 killed in the Hama massacre by Hafez Assad.  His son’s thugs are presently working to beat the Father’s record.

      I’m sure most Arabs and Persians now understand why Israel could not make peace with the likes of Assad as he can’t even make peace with his own people.

      • Caruso

        Excuse me,  who backed the Iraqis against Iran in that war and how many people were killed due to the illegal and bogus US invasion of Iraq??  Should I continue?? ……. “realist” ??

        • Realist

          You prove my point.  It was not Israelis pulling the triggers. US did invade Iraq for stupid reasons but at least it eliminated a guy who dropped chemical weapons on his own people.  In the II war it was Shiites on both sides.  US backed?  You mean we didn’t do anything to stop it.

  • Dee

    Re:Causo

    “Notice how few people are commenting.  Usually there are hundreds of comments.   The listeners of NPR are mostly pro-israel, and in this case they know that Israel is instigating this factional discord and it is ultimately responsible for the deaths in Syria.   But they sheepishly stay quite and sip their Starbucks, while the hypocrisy and warmongering continues.”Caruso,  You maybe absolutely right that the listeners of NPR are pro-Israel. And they may be sipping on their coffees at Starbucks  and remaining silent inside their homes while their government officials and fanatical apologists in Washington cheer on this assault on the Syrian Leadership and its people. I heard on NPR also the opposition were a scattered lot and indeed had to flee from Syria as they were known opponents of the government. So even if Assad was removed there is no one to lead his country. Thus those Zionist fanatics are insane and don’t give a damn about the Syrian people and Syria in the the midst of creating this crisis….Yet like Lord John Troutback in 1948 I am holding their war monger officials responsible for this mass assault on Syrian and its people…And unlike Lord Troutback I will continue to step up my divestment and boycotss and protest against Israel. I feel we all have a moral obligation to oppose this injustice and stop this insane assault on Syria…..It is much more beneficial for them to propose working with Assad in a civil and democratic reforms as the Syrian people requested in the first place… This will ensure people will not call for the state of Israel to be suspended from the UN and posibly shut down…This is where israel is heading today as this injustice against the Palestinian people cannot go on and neither their officials aggression in the region…See the URlL below…While Israelis thrive —Palestinians languish in despair…It is so damn immoral and I find totally unacceptable anymore…Dee

    • harverd phd

       Actually the liberal sheep are waiting for the messiah Obama and his pundit minions to tell them what to say…liberal talking points are in short supply for this latest occurrence…be patient.

      • without representation

        thats stupid.  Progressives dont use talking points–we use facts and reason and empathy.  The left in general rarely uses talking points–thats a republican thing as they cant think for themselves and worship the rich–ooh beat me domina beat me!  However, Obama and other politicians in the fascist party known as democrat and republican use talking points all the time to appease the masses and the masses always fall for it.

      • Ctwood2

        Unlike the dittoheads of Republican Party leader Rush Limbaugh or the fans of fact-challenged Faux news?

  • John

    I am so sad for suffering of the Syrian People..
    They missed the moment of true positive change when the peaceful demonstrations failed last year and brought out into the open for the world to see the true nature of the criminal foundation of the Assad dynasty ..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Budde/100001940199090 Charles Budde

    My sympathies are absolutely with the Syrian people. What an amazing demonstration of the intent of an electorate. Here is democracy without the vote. I keep thinking about el duche and his lamp post. Having said that, suicide bombing diminishes the moral and rational standing of the Syrian opposition. Nothing can excuse this. Murder and suicide in particular are worshipful acts to Satan. Believe what you like or don’t believe, but destroying life particularly human life in this way is certainly contemptible, it is un-Islamic, it is un-Christian, etc and beyond religion. This is the wrong path.  

  • Rcaminer

    Finally-SOMEONE besides Mc Cain -is starting to balk at the absurd narrative that is being said about syria. Finally you showed you still have a few un- brainwashed brain cells Tom-when you refused to dismiss the suicide bombing[alleged] as symptomatic of an alquada or fundamentalist extremists behind the uprising. You correctly and surprisingly said that IF the bombing was a suicide atttack -maybe it was an act of desperation-of the trauma of having ones family tortured and murdered by the regime!This narrative that persists no matter what the horrific reality on the ground is-that alquada or extremist islamists have infiltrated this uprising and that what matters to us [in addition now to chemical weapons getting into alquadas hands] is what might happen if assad falls-is to be complicit with a virtual holocaust. Finally your conscience was pricked as revealed by your comment about the possible suicide attack that killed assads right hand men.If alquada backs the rebels then perhaps it’s our narrative about alquada that should be re -evaluated-rather then take the position  that it’s acceptable for a dictator who is murdering his people en masse to stay in power.Or that we should stand by and watch this happening!

  • Hbhadiss

    this war is just global and local competition between powers and people of syria is just victims

    • Dee

      Well, said and all the more reason to stop this criminal and insane aggression now ….Get your sneakers and 
      posters ready for marching and protesting…Don’t be 
      a spectator…..Dee

  • Pingback: The Endgame in Syria | Cato @ Liberty

  • Dee

    Addendum : 

    Here is the nightmare the creation of Israel made for the Palestinian people in 1948 and today Israeli leaders remain 
    defiant and indifferent to their responsibilities under inter-
    national law and human rights …

    They continue to build illegal settlements in the Palestinian 
    territories in defiance of the 4th Geneva Convention which prohibits Israel from transfers members of its civilian popu-lation into the territories its forces have illegally occupied 
    since the 1967 war….

    Hence I, for one feel no obligation to continue supporting the outlaws state of Israel and believe we have a moral duty to shut down Israel today as a symbol of evil in the world….
    oppressing & denying another people their sovereign rights
    and human rights. 

    In addition, there is no longer a case for maintaining a state such as Israel– in this human rights world. Thus the land 
    should be returned to the Palestinian and those Israelis who 
    have come after 1967 –especially in the territories should 
    remove themselves –lox, stock and barrel….Dee

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus

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