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TERROR IN THE LEVANT: WHO ATTACKED THE U.S. EMBASSY IN DAMASCUS - AND WHY? by Justin Raimondo

 
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09/13/2006 09:30 PM
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TERROR IN THE LEVANT: WHO ATTACKED THE U.S. EMBASSY IN DAMASCUS - AND WHY? by Justin Raimondo
"The attack on the U.S. embassy underscores the reality of what is going on in the Levant, with Syria at the epicenter of a brewing Islamist storm and the U.S. and Israel objectively allied with radical Islamists seeking "regime change" in Damascus. Syria, with its secular government and moderate religious leaders, is an affront to the real terrorists, just as it is anathema in Washington and Tel Aviv. A rational American policy in the region would be to seek a reconciliation with Damascus and an alliance against al-Qaeda and the forces of religious extremism that represent a real threat to our interests. But U.S. interests have nothing to do with our Middle East policy, and that has been true for a long time."


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September 13, 2006


Terror in the Levant

Who attacked the U.S. embassy in Damascus and why?


by Justin Raimondo


To hear the American government and its Israeli allies tell it, the struggle in the Middle East is a straightforward black-and-white one, which pits the Forces of Goodness (Washington and Tel Aviv) against "terrorists" and terrorist-supporting states like Iran and Syria. This narrative enables the Americans and the Israelis to mask their own agendas regional hegemony, territorial expansion (on Israel's part), and access to cheap oil behind the "war on terrorism" rubric. It also lets them lump together groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda that are not only different but opposed to each other's interests, their only commonality being that they are Arab, Muslim, and armed. However, every once in a while, reality intrudes and the official narrative suffers a direct hit: the latest such incident is the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Damascus.

Syrian security forces gunned down three men who tried to blow up the U.S. embassy in Damascus Tuesday, wounding and capturing another. The upscale Abu Romana area, where embassies and the houses of the rich nestle near the presidential palace of Bashar al-Assad, was the scene of a 30-minute gun battle. Shouting religious slogans and firing RPGs, four Takfiri, reportedly members of Jund al-Sham (Soldiers of Syria), a shadowy jihadist Sunni group vaguely affiliated with al-Qaeda, stormed the building. One Syrian guard was killed and two were wounded, in what is being described as a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in front of the embassy. Eleven civilian bystanders were injured.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed her gratitude for the Syrian response. Tony Snow echoed this uncharacteristic note of civility and thanks to the Syrians, opining that American gratitude "does not mean they are an ally. We are hoping they will become an ally and make the choice of fighting against terrorists."

Syria a U.S. ally? What's going on here? Damascus has long been at loggerheads with Washington, despite Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad's best efforts to ameliorate the ferociously anti-Syrian policies and pronouncements of U.S. officials, including barely disguised threats of military action. Economic sanctions and a regular diet of anti-Syrian diatribes coming from the State Department, the Pentagon, and the executive branch have prevented any rapprochement, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon only exacerbated the situation. It's quite a turnaround for the U.S., which had earlier accused the Syrians of orchestrating the assassination of Lebanese politician and entrepreneur Rafik Hariri, to now be thanking this alleged "terrorist" regime for taking casualties in defense of U.S. interests.


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