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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Jul 03rd
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Analysis arrow PHARES: Syrian Mukhabarat Perhaps Responsible for Today’s Car-Bomb Attack
PHARES: Syrian Mukhabarat Perhaps Responsible for Today’s Car-Bomb Attack PDF Print E-mail
Written by W. Thomas Smith Jr.   
Saturday, 27 September 2008

Dr. Walid Phares
Dr. Walid Phares

A powerful car-bomb detonated this morning in the Syrian capital, killing at least 17 and wounding scores.

Why, who, or what terrorist entity is responsible has since been the subject of much speculation. But Middle East terrorism expert Professor Walid Phares says one “very possible scenario is that the attack was executed by the Syrian Mukhabarat (intelligence service) or one of these agencies as a prelude to attack Sunni strongholds inside Lebanon.”

Speaking by phone from Paris – where he is currently briefing counterterrorism experts, Defense officials, and others at the French Military Academy – Phares says: “When you connect the dots between Syrian President [Bashar] Assad, who calls on Lebanon’s president to send troops to the heavily Sunni-populated areas of north Lebanon, to the massing of Syrian troops along the northern borders, and then to the statements made by Syrian officials on Arab TV – including this morning on al Jazeera – that factions within Lebanon could be behind the explosion, you cannot but see the big picture: The strategic target of the Syrian regime is to control the Sunni areas in northern Lebanon who are fiercely opposing the pro-Assad Alawite militias in Tripoli and the advance of Hezbollah’s special units across the northern Bekaa towards Akkar in northern Lebanon.”

So the question is, would Syrian Intelligence forces actually detonate an explosive device on Syrian soil as a means of enflaming a situation, framing Lebanon, and creating an excuse to launch attacks across Lebanon’s borders?

Experts know there is no question but that they would. And as Phares explains: “The Syrian regime is desperately attempting to establish a perception of itself within the international community that Syria is engaged in combating Al Qaeda and its ilk inside Lebanon. It is within this perception that Syria hopes to gain some legitimacy from the West in order that Damascus may extend its reach and influence back inside its neighbor. The best way for Syria to accomplish this is to project an image of its being a victim to ‘Sunni radical terror.’ If one or more explosions inside Syrian territory will do it, that shouldn’t be a problem for a regime which is trying to save its skin in an ongoing international investigation and indictment in the Rafik Hariri assassination case.”

However, Phares says he does not expect “a direct Syrian intervention across the border into Lebanon; not immediately. The classical Syrian modus operandi is to see the situation deteriorating fully before they offer so-called ‘help.’”

He adds, “Fact is, the Assad regime is waiting to see who will enter the White House before moving to the next step toward Lebanon. For now the Syrian Mukhabarat is scoring point-by-point trying to regain the status of the regime internationally. That is very important for them.”

We asked Phares for his opinion regarding recent analysis proffered by everyone from Western media to consulting groups and think tanks, many of which contend the incident may well-be the result of increasing tension between Hezbollah and Syria.

“Just the opposite,” he says. “Everything is coordinated between Tehran and Damascus. If it were otherwise, we would have witnessed different types of actions between the two camps and additional statements. Iran and Syria are solidly moving forward to score points against the U.S., Europe, Arab moderates and the UN. Those analysts who propose otherwise are being influenced by the sharp and well-funded Syro-Iranian propaganda and the power of the petrodollar.”

Dr. Phares directs the Future of Terrorism Project for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and is a visiting scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels. He is currently on a European tour.

— Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. online at uswriter.com.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not represent the opinions of World Defense Review and its affiliates. WDR accepts no responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy or inaccuracy of the content of this or any other story published on this website. Copyright and all rights for this story (and all other stories by the author) are held by the author.

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