Islamist Group Claims Responsibility for Damascus Bombings
Earlier this week, twin suicide bombings tore through the center of Damascus resulting in the deaths of an estimated 55 people. Even as the U.N. mission expands, violence has continued and reamins persistent throughout all areas of Syria. The Associated Press reported the deaths of eight despite the increased U.N. which stands at around half its expected size with 145 members currently on the ground.
The al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant released a video today claiming responsibility for the events, and warned that Alawites will answer for “massacres against the Sunni people” promising that “what is coming will be more calamitous.” Syria expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies Bilal Y. Saab, says “Syria is slowly but surely turning into another Iraq.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he didn’t know what group was responsible for the bombings in Damascus, but affirmed that al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria has increased. Meanwhile, Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah addressed supporters in Beirut reminding them that the “Friends of Syria” are the same countries that declared the liberation of Iraq.
Ryan Spencer writes in The Telegraph that the chances of international intervention in Syria are getting more and more remote. Yochi Dreazen writes in the National Journal that the Obama administration will have to deecide soon on whether to stick to the current diplomatic route despite no sign that Bashar al-Assad will be persuaded to step down, or consider arming the rebels despite the risks that further militarization risks destabilizing the country. David Ignatius writes that Obama’s believes that part of the opposition “could be worse than Assad” and worries that “a protracted struggle is empowering precisely these people.”