Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not Syria!

What?! A car bomb went off in Damascus?

Syria is a gorgeous country, with a fascinating culture and heritage, but it's not exactly in a greatest place in the world pecking order at the moment. If it has any political advantage over its neighbors, though, that would be security. Unlike the often jittery streets of Lebanon, Palestine and even Jordan, Syria is ridiculously safe. Go out at nearly any time of day or night and you won't have anything to worry about.

But now we have this car bomb going off near a Shiite shrine and a government security checkpoint in Damascus. Where in the world did that come from? I'm going to be keeping an eye on this story and see what develops.

Check out this AFP article for a more in-depth look at the story, including political decisions that were made days before the attack and reactions of various world leaders to the attack.

And click here for a timeline of terrorist attacks in Syria.

17 people, all civilians, dead. And during the last ten days of Ramadan, the holiest days of the Muslim calender. Why do people do this to each other?


Nicholas Karavatos said...

I enjoyed my stay in Damascus, especially the old city.

A few years ago I went to the shrine containing the body of Saida Ruqqaya in Damascus. It is beautiful.

Security is as funny a word as peace. What are the dynamics of the absence of conflict?

When I was in Damascus there were military personel stationed all over at convergence points with automatic weapons. That's safety, I suppose.

The airport was also protected with military check points, if I remember correctly.

When the US Embassy was attacked by miltants, the government repelled them (as they are required to do by treaty) but said the attack was the US's own fault. When a mob attacked the Norwegian and Danish Embassies and set them on fire, the securiy personel let it happen. I guess they deserved it too.

The "poltical advantage" of Syria is that it is a one-party (Baath), hereditary personality cult (Assad), with a fierce security apparatus.

(It's also the only country in the world that I have had to pay an exit tax before they would allow me to leave the country.)

The larger question is why are Shia shrines and pilgrimages being attacked and destroyed? Remember Karbala, etc.?

The larger question is why is there religious-based and/or religious-targeted violence?

I look forward to visiting Syria again in the near future. I loved it.

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