Car bomb hits near Russian embassy, Assad power base in Damascus

posted at 8:01 am on February 21, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

If Syrian rebels wanted to send a message to Bashar Assad’s allies as well as the regime, they succeeded today. Rebels conducted a suicide-bomb attack on a checkpoint in Damascus, near both the Russian embassy and the regime’s Ba’ath Party headquarters. But there may be a message for more than just Assad and Russia, as CBS points out:

A car bomb shook central Damascus on Thursday, exploding near the headquarters of the ruling Baath party and the Russian Embassy, eyewitnesses and opposition activists said.

Syrian state TV also reported the blast in the central Mazraa neighborhood, calling it a “terrorist” attack. It did not say what caused the explosion but reported that there were casualties and that the wounded included four children.

Despots facing popular revolts like to use the word “terrorism” to explain away the rebellions they instigate. In this case, though, it’s probably not far from the truth. The tactic should be familiar at least in concept to Americans who paid attention to the war in Iraq, especially in the near-civil war that al-Qaeda instigated in 2006-7. The groups in Syria that launched this attack may be at least aligned with AQ, and possibly linked explicitly to them. One point in particular sounds very familiar:

One Syrian source told Baghdadi a second car wired up with explosives was found at the scene but did not detonate. That claim could not immediately be verified, but if there was a secondary device set to explode with or after the initial bomb, it could suggest involvement by a salafist Islamic militant group. It is a tactic often used by groups which share motives, and in some cases links, to al Qaeda.

Some of the most effective groups of militants battling to topple Assad’s regime are salafist, including the al Nusra Brigades, which is believed to include former al Qaeda in Iraq fighters from across the border. Several large bombings in Damascus have been blamed on the group.

This is why the Obama administration has been reluctant to aid the rebellion. After having been burned in Libya, the newfound skepticism over “freedom fighters” is almost certainly warranted.  While Assad has been nothing but a bad actor in the region, it might get worse if al-Nusra or other salafist groups take control.  At least this time it seems like we recognize that we have nothing but bad options on the table, and our best play may be not to make one.

Of course, that portends a very long fight between the two sides.  CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh shows how the war in Syria has managed to carve up the country.  Rebels are close to controlling the north and are contesting Damascus, and Jurs have taken control of a significant part of the northeast.  However, the Assad regime still controls enough of the country — especially on the Mediterranean side — to keep fighting for control.  Don’t expect this to be over soon, unless Assad decides to bail out for a retirement package offered by moderate Sunni Arab nations looking to wrest control away from the Islamists currently leading the rebellion.


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Bad Optics.

Electrongod on February 21, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Syrian/Goon KaBlewy Imagery:

Photo: Image reportedly showing a cloud of smoke following a blast in Damascus – @ahmadalissa

3 hours ago from twitter.com/ahmadalissa by editor
======================================================

http://www.breakingnews.com/item/ahZzfmJyZWFraW5nbmV3cy13d3ctaHJkcg0LEgRTZWVkGOS4jw0M/2013/02/21/photo-image-reportedly-showing-a-cloud-of-smoke-following-a-blast-in

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:10 AM

“At this point,
What difference does it make.”

Electrongod on February 21, 2013 at 8:10 AM


Four more images of Ka-Blewy:

TV footage of Damascus ‘terrorist’ car bomb appears to show at least 4 lifeless bodies – @AP

3 hours ago from http://www.wral.com by editor

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/syria-uprising
================================================

Posted: 5:50 a.m. today
Updated: 5:52 a.m. today
Car bomb hits near HQ of Syria’s ruling party
*********************************************

http://www.wral.com/large-blast-hits-near-hq-of-syria-s-ruling-party/12133318/

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:14 AM

“At this point,
What difference does it make.”

Electrongod on February 21, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Electrongod:Channeling HilRod,Lol,Good Morning EG:)

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:15 AM

“At this point,
What difference does it make.”

Electrongod on February 21, 2013 at 8:10 AM

I’m almost on board with the Hillary Doctrine in this case.

forest on February 21, 2013 at 8:15 AM

“At this point,
What difference does it make.”

Electrongod on February 21, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Beat me to it. This was exactly what I was going to post.

It’s just a few children. Let’s get back to the really important stuff. How’d the rat-eared one do in his golf game with Tiger Woods? Did Mooch and the mini-moochers enjoy Aspen? And can you believe the ending of Downton Abbey Season 3?

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:16 AM

I’m sure the first question in the minds of the MSM talking heads is, “How will this affect Obama?”

I agree, and so propose we send all the big shots of CNN and MSNBC over there to find out for us.

Liam on February 21, 2013 at 8:18 AM

I’m almost on board with the Hillary Doctrine in this case.

forest on February 21, 2013 at 8:15 AM

You know, I’m probably with you except for the fact that the United States has no coherent foreign policy. We just declared the Arab Spring an unqualified success and are ignoring all the bad stuff that happened since then. That does make such acts matter at this point.

More than four children get wounded by violence in Chicago every single day. We ignore that too. But when it comes in a nation where the rat-eared bastard has meddled in his usual half-assed lazy way, we really should be paying attention.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:19 AM

I agree, and so propose we send all the big shots of CNN and MSNBC over there to find out for us.

Liam on February 21, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Make sure Candy Crowley is one of the field reporters on this!

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:20 AM

EG
Winner!

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Talk about doing the Job right the first time,ahem(sarc)!

Photo: Aftermath of Damascus car bomb, handed out by SANA news agency – @AJEnglish

2 hours ago from blogs.aljazeera.com by editor
==================================================

Photo | Cars burn after a powerful car bomb blast near the headquarters of Syria’s ruling Baath party in Damascus
Feb 21 2013
***********

http://blogs.aljazeera.com/topic/syria/photo-cars-burn-after-powerful-car-bomb-blast-near-headquarters-syrias-ruling-baath

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Despots facing popular revolts like to use the word “terrorism” to explain away the rebellions they instigate.

terrorism is like beauty, it’s always in the eyes of the beholder. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

ted c on February 21, 2013 at 8:24 AM

EG
Winner!

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 8:21 AM

cmsinaz:Tru Dat,haha,Good Morning:)

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:24 AM

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Just heard on the news…
“It’s snowing in Arizona. And it’s February.”

Electrongod on February 21, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Morning Canopfor :)

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Syrian state TV also reported the blast in the central Mazraa neighborhood, calling it a “terrorist” attack.

Terrorist? Nah, this has all the trappings of workplace violence. Calm down everyone.

Trafalgar on February 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Talk about doing the Job right the first time,ahem(sarc)!

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Meh. Looks like a picture of a typical commute here in DC. ;0

Seriously though, I really would like to hear something from the horse-faced Secretary of State about the US position with regards to Syria, Libya, Russia, the Keystone pipeline, or anything else. Four years and counting of the United States having no discernible foreign policy is not a good thing.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:28 AM

The Associated Press ‏@AP

RAW VIDEO: At least 31 people are killed by a car bomb near the ruling Baath party’s headquarters in Damascus: http://apne.ws/Xn2eJb
============

Raw: Car Bomb Blast Near Syria’s Ruling Party HQ

Published on Feb 21, 2013

Opposition activists say at least 31 people have been killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus near the headquarters of the ruling Baath party and the Russian Embassy. (Feb. 21)

Video:(1:10)
============

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxcFvIv6e3w&feature=youtu.be

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Yepper EG

It snowed in the east valley Scottsdale area….i live in the Northwest valley…. just rain for us

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Terrorist? Nah, this has all the trappings of workplace violence. Calm down everyone.

Trafalgar on February 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Even now, the folks in Foggy Bottom are surfing the net trying to find a YouTube video to blame this on.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Remind me please what the eff we’re doing in that shithole – I mean, besides selling as much outdated firearms and ammo as we can to both sides.

Archivarix on February 21, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Opposition activists say at least 31 people have been killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus near the headquarters of the ruling Baath party and the Russian Embassy. (Feb. 21)

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Which means the death count is really something like 3.

I don’t mean to make light of these deaths but opposition activists really are not the best source for accurate numbers. It’s like the fact that no matter what the US did during the opening combat operations in Afghanistan all we managed to hit according to our enemies was orphanages, hospitals, and mosques.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Seriously though, I really would like to hear something from the horse-faced Secretary of State about the US position with regards to Syria, Libya, Russia, the Keystone pipeline, or anything else. Four years and counting of the United States having no discernible foreign policy is not a good thing.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Kerry’s first foreign policy speech was about global warming. So, the Administration’s priorities are clear.

“What? Me worry?”

Liam on February 21, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Remind me please what the eff we’re doing in that shithole – I mean, besides selling as much outdated firearms and ammo as we can to both sides.

Archivarix on February 21, 2013 at 8:31 AM

We really aren’t doing anything in Syria. The Arab Spring was a triumph with only the good guys winning in every part of those uprisings. That’s why we are sending Billions and free military equipment to Egypt and a regime that wants Israel to be Jew free, the world under Sharia law, and America destroyed. In short they have the same goals as the current administration.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Kerry’s first foreign policy speech was about global warming. So, the Administration’s priorities are clear.

“What? Me worry?”

Liam on February 21, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Actually, I’m not that worried. Foreign policy under this despotic regime comes from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and Valerie Jarrett. It does not come from whoever is on the top floor at Foggy Bottom. Kerry is nothing but a horse-faced puppet.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:37 AM

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Meh. Looks like a picture of a typical commute here in DC. ;0

Seriously though, I really would like to hear something from the horse-faced Secretary of State about the US position with regards to Syria, Libya, Russia, the Keystone pipeline, or anything else. Four years and counting of the United States having no discernible foreign policy is not a good thing.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Happy Nomad:

Good points on Kerry,he is too busy,visiting every other M.E.
country,but Israel,for some inexplicable reason(s)!:)

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Anyone envy our POTUS on this one?

The US doesn’t have a good track record in other nations’ civil wars.

Israel just bombed Syria and is worried about chemical weapons.

There is every chance for a pipeline to be started linking Iran and Syria. Oh yes, it crosses Iraq.

Then I found some pro-west and pro-Christian sites in support of Assad and they did fear what the next rulers might become.

The US and Russia could play “good cop, bad cop..”

IlikedAUH2O on February 21, 2013 at 8:41 AM

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Morning Canopfor. Stonehenge is more concerned with espousing his views on Climate Change than dealing with M.E. issues. Because as we know “it is the civil rights issue of our time” or “we can be on the wrong side of history” or sumptin sumptin.

can_con on February 21, 2013 at 8:48 AM

The US and Russia could play “good cop, bad cop..”

IlikedAUH2O on February 21, 2013 at 8:41 AM

You talk about the America’s track record in other nations civil wars. Well, that whole good cop/ bad cop thing has an even worse record of success. What we need to be doing is supporting our allies (Israel) and not spending billions on the Islamic regime that took over Egypt.

But we are for three reasons. The rat-eared bastard needs to keep up the charade that the Arab Spring was a success. The current Egyptian regime has the same goals as the current administration. And finally, because back in 09 the filthy rat-eared bastard gave a speech in Cairo- they supposedly love him!

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Um…..no. Don’t even think that these are rebels. They are terrorists. The suicide bomber tactic is the preserve of the muzzie jihadists. I know that side of the world well. Although suicide bombing was initiated by the terrorist LTTE of Sri Lanka (google it), it was quickly adopted as a perfect tactic by muzzie jihadists. So these are not rebels. Just want us to keep our facts straight.

tommy71 on February 21, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Surely this wasn’t done by the religion of peace? If so, some women’s gonna get the stuffing beat out of her and her tent.

acyl72 on February 21, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Has Huma Abedin been seen lately at State?

can_con on February 21, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Um…..no. Don’t even think that these are rebels. They are terrorists.

One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

The IRA and Chechnya are two examples that come to mind.

What really matters to America here is not if one group in Syria kills another group- they’ve been doing that to each other for centuries. What matters is what is our national interest in the conflict and are our polices in line with that interest.

WE HAVE NO COHERENT FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST!!! We’ll arm this group of “rebels” but that regime, even though the two groups are indistinguishible from each other. We’re giving billions and free military equipment to Egypt even though the nation is being run by the Muslim Brotherhood and a guy who claims that Jews are pigs and the Holocaust never happened (all 6 million Jews just immigrated to the United States, presumably to establish the Jewish Lobby that Chuck Hagel thinks is running the nation). On top of that we have a disinterested press that agrees with Hillary Clinton that the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens is meaningless but fall all over themselves in reporting the latest celeb to schmooze with the rat-eared wonder.

Simply pathetic. We need adults in the White House and Foggy Bottom. Instead we have lazy inarticulate politicians.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 9:06 AM

We just declared the Arab Spring an unqualified success and are ignoring all the bad stuff that happened since then.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:19 AM

It was an unqualified success, from Jugears’ point of view.

As far as bad stuff goes, it was nothing but bad stuff from before we even started it. Yeah, I said it – we started the Arab spring. It’s all part of a plot to get the blind sheik free and our gubmint officials are eyebrow deep in it. Chris Stevens died because of it wheree he would have lived if we had only told him that he was supposed to allow himself to be captured.

I am looking forward to the day when these vermin are treated in the traditional manner for traitors.

platypus on February 21, 2013 at 9:08 AM

And can you believe the ending of Downton Abbey Season 3?

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:16 AM

I almost cried when that one girl got kicked off of Idol last night.

Syria? What’s that, a new line of hip hop earbuds or something?

Bishop on February 21, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Syria? What’s that, a new line of hip hop earbuds or something?

Bishop on February 21, 2013 at 9:10 AM

It’s Syriana. Pay attention, m’kay?

platypus on February 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Morning Canopfor. Stonehenge is more concerned with espousing his views on Climate Change than dealing with M.E. issues. Because as we know “it is the civil rights issue of our time” or “we can be on the wrong side of history” or sumptin sumptin.

can_con on February 21, 2013 at 8:48 AM

can_con:

GoodMotning as well,…
….StoneHedge Kerry,now that begs to be photo-shopped,lol!

And yes,Lefty Social Justice/Global Warming top priority crap!!:)

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Thats Good Morning,not,,(Motning)!

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I am looking forward to the day when these vermin are treated in the traditional manner for traitors.

platypus on February 21, 2013 at 9:08 AM

My only solace with this regime is that rarely do bad things go unpunished. We are talking about the vermin in the US government, right?

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 9:33 AM

I’m almost on board with the Hillary Doctrine in this case.

forest on February 21, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Except for the fact the Al Nusra factions which have grown to quite a large portion of the FSA are just murderous Jihadists trying to impose an Islamic state in Syria. Any Republican in charge of this would illicit a crap storm of nightly news stories of beheadings of civilians and executions of soldiers by these thugs. There is no good side in Syria and we’re supplying the weapons to one bad side.

Were are the hypocrite peace protesters from the left?

hawkdriver on February 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

The UN shows once again how absolutely useless it is.
Is Carter on the way to broker a peace deal?????
………how about Angelina Jolie?????

Where is all that “we can talk this out” crew that love to stand on the sidelines yelling “warmonger” when genocidal maniacs like Saddam are taken out????

Sanctions maybe????……

Super libs like Kerry and Pelosi loved Assad….”the road to peace runs through Damascus”…….Yeaaaaa!!!!!

Now Mr. Secretary of State is giving Global warming speeches while jihadist slaughter continues throughout the region and we are sent packing with our tails between our legs in “the good war” Afghanistan.

The “books not bombs” crowd has watched slaughter in Dafur…Iraq (before Bush stopped him)…Vietnam….Syria…Iran…etc. and stopped nothing with their “superior” so called knowledge and “smart power”.
Nada…..zip……accomplished zero……not stopped a single genocidal leader.

The only thing that stopped this massive slaughter from the Nazi’s to the Communist to the Jihadist was to destroy them.

The UN and the “war is not the answer” crowd are good for one thing and one thing only……ankle biting on the sidelines while slaughter is carried out right in front of their faces.

Baxter Greene on February 21, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Were are the hypocrite peace protesters from the left?

hawkdriver on February 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

….War,slaughter,ripping up the Constitution,torture are all good now….their guy’s in charge.

Baxter Greene on February 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Where?

hawkdriver on February 21, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Baxter Greene on February 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM

If we had a real media rather than a bunch of liberal cheerleaders…

hawkdriver on February 21, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Wait. Aren’t we arming some of these groups with weapons from Libya? Why, Ed, would you think we’re staying out of this one?

On another note, will the projections of two weeks to the inevitable fall of Damascus once again ring from the myriad of pundits who’ve been making this same claim for at least a year?

BKeyser on February 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

The only thing that stopped this massive slaughter from the Nazi’s

Baxter Greene on February 21, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Haven’t you been paying attention to Morsi? All six million Jews weren’t killed. They just relocated to the United States.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Syrian state TV also reported the blast in the central Mazraa neighborhood, calling it a “terrorist” attack.

…noooooooooooooo!…it was spontaneous!…what’s WRONG with their STATE RUN MEDIA!

KOOLAID2 on February 21, 2013 at 9:59 AM

The groups in Syria that launched this attack may be at least aligned with AQ, and possibly linked explicitly to them.

When confused you can always right yourself by just calling them Muslims fighting to promote Islam.

BL@KBIRD on February 21, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Wait. Aren’t we arming some of these groups with weapons from Libya? Why, Ed, would you think we’re staying out of this one?

BKeyser on February 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

There’s a spinner from an old Twister game in SecState’s desk at Foggy Bottom. Green means arm the rebels. Red means arm the current regime. Yellow means stay the hell out. Blue means land the Marines. That’s why we support this group of “freedom fighters” but call virtually the same group in some other nation “rebels.”

Disprove my theory if you can but I’m telling you the “Twister theory” makes far more sense than anything uttered by this administration.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 10:05 AM

When confused you can always right yourself by just calling them Muslims fighting to promote Islam.

BL@KBIRD on February 21, 2013 at 10:03 AM

So this is a “church thing,” right? ;0

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Haven’t you been paying attention to Morsi? All six million Jews weren’t killed. They just relocated to the United States.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Oh….so that’s what Hagel was talking about.

Baxter Greene on February 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM

If we had a real media rather than a bunch of liberal cheerleaders…

hawkdriver on February 21, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Exactly….

When I hear their daily tongue baths I keep getting the vision of the scare crow in the Wizard of OZ singing “if I only had a brain”…..

What a bunch of lap dogs.

Baxter Greene on February 21, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Le Gruesome:

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters

Photo: Aftermath of a car bomb that killed 53 people near Damascus ruling party building in Syria http://bit.ly/YcAG9h
====================================================

A car bomb killed 53 people and wounded 200 in central Damascus on Thursday when it blew up on a busy highway close to ruling Baath Party offices and the Russian Embassy, Syrian television said.

http://reuters.tumblr.com/post/43646899352/a-car-bomb-killed-53-people-and-wounded-200-in

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

If we had a real media rather than a bunch of liberal cheerleaders…

hawkdriver on February 21, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Exactly….

When I hear their daily tongue baths I keep getting the vision of the scare crow in the Wizard of OZ singing “if I only had a brain”…..

What a bunch of lap dogs.

Baxter Greene on February 21, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Baxter Greene:

Me agree’s,good to see both of you guys,and Good Morning:)

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 10:39 AM

It’s Syriana. Pay attention, m’kay?
platypus on February 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

That George Clooney sure is one debonaire fella and hey look….
squirrel!

can_con on February 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Which means the death count is really something like 3.

I don’t mean to make light of these deaths but opposition activists really are not the best source for accurate numbers. It’s like the fact that no matter what the US did during the opening combat operations in Afghanistan all we managed to hit according to our enemies was orphanages, hospitals, and mosques.

Happy Nomad on February 21, 2013 at 8:32 AM

I have said before, and I will say again: Anyone who believes a casualty figure provided by a Muslim is a damn fool. Remember the “Jenin Massacre”? The Palis screamed about the hundreds — including helpless women and children — killed by the Israelis, and the Israelis said there were only six Palestinian deaths — all fighters. The UN (yes, that UN)sent in an investigative team and concluded that the Israelis had the casualty figures exactly right.

Every drone strike we execute in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen kills no jihadis, only children and the occasional woman. Every time the Israelis nail a Pali on his way to blow up Israelis also kills dozens of innocent children and the occasional woman. Every missile Israel shot intothe Hezbullah-occupied areas of Lebanon a few years back hit only children, the occasional woman and even an ambulance. And every dead body is multiplied by a dozen at the very least.

catsandbooks on February 21, 2013 at 12:47 PM