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Staging a New Hostage Crisis

John on September 12, 2006 at 11:43 am

The Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 was responsible for ending Jimmy Carter’s Presidency and sealing his legacy as one of failure. Today, it appears another Islamic group was hoping for a repeat performance: [HT: Wizbang]

Islamic militants attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy in Damascus on Tuesday using automatic rifles, hand grenades and at least one van rigged with explosives, the government said. Four people were killed in the brazen attack, including three of the assailants.

No Americans were hurt, and the attackers apparently did not breach the high walls surrounding the embassy’s white compound in the city’s diplomatic neighborhood…

Witnesses also said the gunmen tried to throw hand grenades into the embassy compound, shouting “Allah Akbar!” or “God is great!” It was not clear if any of the grenades made it over the walls, which are about 8 feet high.

Time magazine has a good story on this, though it has been given a truly terrible headline: Why Syria May Be the Real Victim of the Attack.

But the Syrian regime itself may have more to worry about in this particular attack than the U.S. That’s because as it may have been intended as a riposte to Washington, the raid was a bold challenge to the rule of President Bashar Assad. [...]

[T]he Syrian regime’s own long war with Islamic extremists is heating up again. In 1982, the regime of Assad’s late father Hafez obliterated sections of the Syrian city of Hama, killing an estimated 20,000 people, to quell an uprising by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. The Assad Dynasty’s iron rule has kept the lid on discontent for most of the time since. But during the last few years, new attacks seem to herald the return of violent extremists. Just three months ago, in one of the Syrian capital’s most prominent public squares, four gunmen were killed trying to attack the building housing Syrian state television.

Here’s the best part. I’m tempted to put the whole thing in bold. Don’t skip any:

Another way to look at it is that the Syrian regime may be reaping what it sows. Among Arab leaders, Assad is alone in his outspoken support for Islamic militant groups like Hizballah in Lebanon, and the Palestinan factions, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. U.S. officials believe that the Assad regime has secretly aided the three-year-old Sunni insurgency in Iraq, providing passage for jihad volunteers and funds, and safe haven for insurgency leaders. At the start of the war in 2003, Arab jihadists who poured into Damascus en route to Baghdad were allowed to openly line up outside the Iraqi embassy just down the road from the American embassy.

Assad, whose regime is officially secular despite its close alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran, often casts himself as the champion of radical Islamic movements. Last month, in a speech openly ridiculing moderate Arab leaders, he hailed Hizballah’s war in Lebanon as a stinging defeat for Israel that undercut American plans for the region. But it is beginning to look like at least some of the Islamists consider his regime the enemy, too.

Kudos to Scott MacLeod for this article. Again, too bad about the miserable headline slapped on it by the editors at Time.

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Category: Islamic Jihad |

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