The suicide bombings' heavy toll in Damascus, far from creating
international resolve, reveal a deepening split among world powers.
Meanwhile signs of Al Qaeda involvement are mounting.
The suicide bombings that killed at least 55 people in Damascus
Thursday reveal the shambles made of a key argument for Western
nations to approve the UN cease-fire plan for Syria.
By that reasoning, sending international monitors into the
country and giving the cease-fire a chance would eventually make
anti-interventionist powers like Russia and China more open to
But if anything, reactions to the bombings revealed a deepening
split among world powers on the subject of Syria. With Russia
attacking the forces arrayed against the regime of President Bashar
al-Assad, and the United States finding a way to blame the Assad
regime, prospects for any consensus that would allow more forceful
international intervention appeared dimmer than ever.
The twin car bombings in busy morning traffic also raised the
specter of Al Qaeda's entry into the Syrian conflict. It was not the
first bombing in Damascus bearing the signature marks of the
extremist Islamist organization, but the massive coordinated attack
strengthened concerns in the US and elsewhere that Al Qaeda might be
taking advantage of Syria's unrest to infiltrate the country
(possibly from Iraq) and target the Assad regime.
In response to the bombings, Russia was quick to reiterate its
thinking that some members of the international community are going
so far as to promote violence as a means of subsequently justifying
international intervention. "Some of our foreign partners are taking
steps to ensure, both literally and figuratively, that the situation
explodes," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said while on a
visit to Beijing.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Obama administration said
Assad was at least indirectly to blame for the bombings for having
allowed Syria's political uprising to fester and more recently for
failing to implement the six-point cease-fire plan of former UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which calls for an end to all violence
and steps towards political reform.
"If the Assad regime were doing what it's supposed to do, which
is to lead the way in demonstrating its commitment to the cease-
fire, then we think that that would set the tone and we would not be
seeing these kinds of violent episodes elsewhere in the country,"
said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "It is the Assad
regime that created this climate of violence that is causing not
only folks to take up arms in defense, but is also providing an
environment, potentially, for mischief to be made by others who
don't favor peace in Syria. …