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President Bashar al-Assad Should Sleep With One Eye Open

July 18, 2012

UPDATED

I certainly do not like to see bloodshed take place.  Violence around the globe is always unsettling.  However the shocking news from Syria this morning has to be viewed in the context of how the fight to remove the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is making progress.  There has to be a real sense around that troubled land that the regime is vulnerable, and the tide is turning against the despot. 

Shashank Joshi, of the Royal United Services Institute, tells the BBC the attack is a sign that recent defections to the Syrian opposition are having a impact on the government. “Regardless of whether this was a suicide bombing or a remote controlled bombing, which the Free Syrian Army claims, it would have required information as to the whereabouts of this meeting… and it would of course have required access – and this is not confirmed – to the office of the national security council chief,” he says. “That would only have been possible with a really impressive degree of insider information.”

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The claim that a bomber was able to carry out such an attack against a high security target speaks volumes about the government’s ability to protect its own members and raises questions about the broader capacities of Syria’s “security state”.

Caution, though, is still needed.

Details of the event are sketchy, contested, and rely upon elements all with their own axes to grind.

Why, according to reliable witnesses, does the building where the bomb apparently went off appear to be undamaged? Why has Syrian government TV refrained from showing its usual lurid images of the casualties?

Conspiracy theorists may have a field-day, but there is one inescapable fact.

The news put out by the Syrian government of a rebel attack against the very heart of the regime cannot be interpreted as anything other than a disaster for President Assad and his supporters.

It sends out a message that if these men cannot be protected by the state security apparatus, then who can? It is in this sense that the attack marks a new phase in the struggle for Syria’s future.

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