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March 17, 2012

Damascus bombings: A Strategic Shift?

March 17, 2012

March 17, 2012

Two explosions targeted security bases in Damascus this morning, killing civilians and members of the security services. The country has witnessed a series of bombings, especially in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria's two major and revolution-passive cities. 
(Photo, above, from the scene of the bombing)

Have the new Damascus bombings signaled a shift in the Free Syrian Army strategy? After the failure in holding territory due to the regular army's superiority, has the FSA/militants adopted an Iraq style bombing campaign against Assad's security services?

Answering the question above has to take into consideration the enormous "Iraq effect" on Syria's militants, whether its Islamist militants or FSA members. Thousands of the Iraq war veterans are Syrian; the Syrian regime facilitated their recruitment and exodus to the Eastern neighbor since 2003. They are back and have been fighting against the regime for a few years now (clashes have been reported in different years).
The regime has also been interested in strengthening the Islamist militant side of the uprising, though it was nearly non-existent before the militarization of the revolution. The Islamists have also looked into the 1980s experience, during which Islamists have launched a series of bombings against Allawite targets, but were later marginalized and crushed by brutal force. The culmination was the regime's infamous massacre of Hama.
If they are reading from the 1980s handbook, Syria's anti-Assad militants will launch attacks against security targets, further weakening the regime. If the militants really learned from the 1980s experience, they will not launch any Sectarian attacks, like in Iraq, as it will further marginalize them; they would rather focus on gaining more following by spectacular and daring operations/bombings against the regime's major bases/symbols of power and repression. The issue is that they lack discipline/unity, and might fall in the Sectarian trap.


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