The suicide bombing (or not) that wiped out a chunk of Syria’s top security team, including the defense minister and deputy defense minister, who was also President Assad’s brother-in-law, may or may not tip the balance in Damascus toward a crumbling of the regime. Other officials have been named to fill the jobs of those killed, and the early consensus is that Assad’s government will hold together, at least for now. But fighting has started in and around Damascus itself, and there is a steady stream of (mostly Sunni) defections from the Syrian army and security forces.
Leon Panetta, the secretary of defense, said with undisguised glee that Syria is “spinning out of control.”
But Russia’s foreign minister makes the right point, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
“Instead of calming the opposition down, some of our partners are inciting it to go on,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday.
There’s been far too little reporting about US involvement in the events in Syria. When the story is finally told, I’m willing to bet that the United States has been far more deeply involved in arming and supporting the so-called Free Syrian Army—which took credit for the blast that killed the officials—and in encouraging the mostly Sunni, anti-Iran coalition in the region, led by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey.
Meanwhile, as the Russian RIA Novosti reports:
The adoption of a tough, new Western-backed UN resolution on Syria would amount to “direct support” for opponents of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia’s foreign minister said ahead of a Security Council vote later on Wednesday. “To adopt the resolution would be…direct support for the revolutionary movement,” Sergei Lavrov told journalists. “To pressure just one side means drawing [Syria] into a civil war and interference in the internal affairs of the state.”
William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, cried crocodile tears over the bombing in Damascus. It had all the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda operation. Usually the United States and the UK go bananas when an Al Qaeda–style operation occurs anywhere in the world. Not in Syria, I guess. Sometimes suicide bombings are really bad things, and sometimes not so bad, in the view of Washington, London and Paris.