Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Politics of Bombs

Yesterday, a powerful bomb ripped through a conference at the National Security HQ in Damascus, Syria.  The device killed the country's Defense Minister and several others, including President Bashir Assad's brother-in-law.  A report that the Interior Minister was also killed turned out to be untrue - but he's badly hurt nevertheless.

Responsibility was immediately claimed by the Free Syrian Army, which claimed that it was an inside job carried out by one of their people working in the Defense Ministry.  An Islamist group also claimed the attack, but that claim's dubious.

Coupled with unconfirmed reports that President Assad and his family have taken refuge at the port of Latakia (and an additional report that Assad's British-born wife's already shifted ho for Russia), this could signal the beginning of the end for the regime in Syria. 

Which, on balance, wouldn't be a Bad Thing. Bad things have been going on in Syria for the past 14 months, already.

The same day a nondescript long haired guy wearing plaid shorts and a backpack was spotted on security video at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria.  He seemed to be waiting for something.

He was.

As a group of Israeli holidaymakers boarded a bus, he walked up to the vehicle and hit the thunder button, killing seven and injuring 23.  Bulgaria's Interior Minister announced that the guy was traveling with forged papers, including a bogus Michigan driver's license.

Israel's government immediately blamed Iran (who said, "Not us, motherfuckers") and promised dire consequences.

Now, you might ask why I'm doing this.

The use of bombs as Propaganda of the Deed has a long history - the Haymarket Riots, the Troubles, the July 7th London bombings, etc - but they don't exist in a vacuum.

The Damascus bombing was a deliberate attack on a military target as part of a civil war.  The Free Syrian Army was trying to whack the regime's command structure, a classic decapitation attack.  And it was justified in just that way.

The Burgas bombing targeted civilians, and was more the pure type of Deed Propaganda.  However comforting Israel's knee-jerk reaction may be to its citizens and the Israel lobby in the USA, no one to my knowledge has claimed any responsibility yet.

Which is kind of the point to doing things like this.  You blow up a busload of people, then stand on your head and wiggle your ears at your adversaries, shouting, "Nyah nyah!"

This didn't happen in a vacuum.  So, who done it?


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