Skip to comments.Syrian defense minister killed in Damascus bomb blast
Posted on 07/18/2012 3:56:49 AM PDT by Zajko
Syria's defence minister General Daoud Rajha was killed in Wednesday's bomb attack on the National Security headquarters in Damascus, state TV said.
The Interior Minister and Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat was seriously wounded in the blast, Al Manar TV reported.
Security officials told AFP that several other participants in a top-level meeting were wounded in the blast and taken to Al-Shami hospital in the capital for treatment.
The attack took place during a meeting of ministers and security officials - it wounded several people, some of them critically, state television said.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.aljazeera.com ...
That sucker is hangin' with Lucifer...now on to Assad!
Couldn’t agree more.
AJ now reporting that Interior Minister and Assad’s brother-in-law also dead. Same to them if so.
The bomb was carried into the meeting with Hitler by Von Staufenberg. It was placed in a briefcase next to the leg of the solid oak table. It is said the table absorbed the blast and Hitler survived.
The lesson was learned by the Syrian equivalent who achieved spectacular success.
If FR had a ‘like’ button I’d click it to your comment - just hope whoever had the guts to carry this out gets a kinder fate than von Stauffenberg did.
If Assef Shawkat is gone, this is a huge blow to Assad’s regime: the president’s right-hand man, ‘public enemy no.1’ to anyone who opposes him, and even in a regime notorious for its level of brutality and inhumanity to its own people, one of the nastiest pieces of work around.
I lived in Damascus for a year or so, back in 2007, in an apartment in the Christian quarter of the old city. Syrian friends would criticize even Assad, in private, if they knew you well enough. But very few ever dared to make any comment about Shawkat.
The Assads have been supporting these bombings against Israel for decades. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.
After Syria, Iran is next. Boom!
There are indeed radical Islamic nutcases in Syria: far fewer of them, however, in my experience, than in the vast majority of Middle Eastern states. It’s also worth remembering that over 20% of the population is Christian.
Syria is not a ‘religious’ state, in general. When I was there, you could drink beer openly in the street, discuss religion freely and openly, and even date a local girl.
Assad certainly fits that bill. There are a lot of nasty pieces of work in that part of the world, but Assad and his cronies are some of the worst.
Now confirmed on Syrian state TV that Assef Shawkat, Assad’s brother-in-law and right-hand man, is indeed dead.
Good riddance to the ****er.
Payback for all the Syrian bombings in Lebanon and Israel.
——The Arab Muslims are suicide bombers for Allah-——
That fact is not in any evidence I have seen for the general population and especially not in the current incident under discussion.
Absolutely: whether Al-Qaeda types may try to fill any vacuum of power which occurs after Assad exits (which he will: it’s a question now of when, not if) is absolutely of concern. However, one needs to differentiate between those who are fighting in any way they can to save themselves, their families and their country from one of the most despotic and evil regimes on earth.
I have Syrian friends, some of whom I am still in touch with, and some of whom are suffering horrors almost beyond imagining at the hands of Assad and his gang. None of them are in any way ‘suicide bombers for Allah’ (I don’t generally befriend these). Some of them aren’t even Muslims. They’re largely regular, decent people, trying desperately to do whatever they can to defend themselves from a state apparatus that will torture and murder indiscriminately to maintain its hold on power.
I don’t deny that such types exist, of course, including in Syria. Indeed, Assad’s regime is now making an effort to get Al Qaeda elements on side in its own support as it massacres its own people. But these do not make up the bulk of those who are now fighting against Assad’s thugs.
Of course I was tracked by state security. At times they were even obvious. And don’t try to put words into my mouth: no-one but a lunatic would claim that Syria was a ‘liberal’ state in any political way: quite the opposite. I’m talking about the nature of the people, from a religious perspective, in response to your comment about ‘suicide bombers for Allah’, as was quite clear.
My point, to repeat, is that Syria isn’t an Islamic religious state: the people are in general quite liberal, from a religious perspective, when compared to other countries where I’ve lived, traveled or worked in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait etc. To class everyone in Syria as a ‘suicide bomber for Allah’ simply displays ignorance and lack of knowledge about the country and its people.
And there is no evidence that Christians in Syria are ‘packing up and leaving’ in any greater numbers than their Muslim counterparts right now.
What is going on, is this the twilight zone or something or are freepers so dense now that they are cheering for al qaeda and the muslim brotherhood.
I’m absolutely aware of both the good aspects (and there are good aspects, as you rightly mention) and the bad, in Middle Eastern / Arabic culture. And yes, many here do indeed have what you describe as a 7th century side to their psyches. In some countries in the region, these are even dominant. In others, there is a risk that they may become so.
What the future holds for Syria, who knows: it is indeed possible that Muslim Brotherhood types may eventually manage to seize power in Damascus, inflicting God-knows-what on their fellow Syrians of other creeds, sects and outlooks on life.
I don’t, however think this is inevitable in Syria (as it always was, to all but the most blinkered optimist, in Egypt). And I did feel it’s unfair to describe the motivation of the bulk of those who’ve been driven to defend themselves against Assad’s thuggish regime - one which routinely tortures and murders children for sport - as ‘suicide bombers for Allah.’ I’m not denying these may indeed exist, including in Syria. But they aren’t in any way the driving force behind the current struggle there, and God willing, they may never become so. Who knows: we can but watch, hope and pray.
Actually, in Libya, the rebels cast aside Gaddafi’s all-green (Islamic) flag for the old Libyan monarchical-era one. I’m not sure I’d read too much into the precise colors of the various adopted flags: they’re symbols, used to rally and unite the masses to support a cause. Green / white / black color schemes are pretty common in the ME, as green / red / yellow are widespread in Africa, and red / white / blue are frequent in the various countries of the west.
And I don’t deny there are Muslim brotherhood types involved in the fighting in Syria, nor do I deny it’s an issue of genuine concern. I don’t think the outcome here, however, is as inevitable as it sadly always was in Egypt. I guess only time will tell who’s right here.
I think there’s a difference between being ‘optimistic’ (too strong a word, for me) and sensing a possible route which avoids total chaos, Egypt-style. As I said, Muslim-brotherhood rule, and all its associated horrors, is indeed a possibility for Syria. But unlike Egypt, I don’t think it’s the only one.
I’d simply base this on my own experience of the year I spent living there, compared to almost all the other Islamic countries I’ve spent extended time in (Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Mauritania and the Emirates). Extremist, ‘Islamist’ opinions were treated with the scorn they deserve by more Syrians I discussed such issues with, than is the case in many ‘Christian’ Western European countries today. Unlike anywhere else in the ME, I could go out for a drink with a mixed group of both Muslim and Christian Syrian friends, and religion (unlike politics) could be discussed freely and without rancor. Often, it wasn’t clear to me whether various friends or colleagues I had there were Christian, Muslim or even something else.
Syrians seemed to have a unity about them, a shared pride in their cultural heritage, which was separate from, and not entirely dependent upon, Islam: something I don’t think I could say about any other ME country I know well. I distinctly remember a Muslim colleague driving me out to visit one of the old 3rd century monasteries outside Damascus, and the pride he had in sharing this part of his country’s culture with me, entirely separate from his own religion.
But you are right in one respect: it is merely my own opinion, based on my own experience, and it may well amount to wishful thinking. All may indeed fall apart and into chaos: but even so, I’ll shed very few tears for Assad or his lot.
The only additional point I’d want to make is this: yes, there may well be unsavory elements among the Syrian opposition fighting Assad. But there are also many decent, reasonable people in that mix, driven to fight against an evil, tyrannical and repressive government, for the freedom of their families and their country. I think it’s easy to lose sight of that, among all the horror and hatred that swamps the ME today. That may be stating an obvious point that doesn’t need saying. I have to say I saw more to be hopeful about in Syria than I ever saw anywhere else in the region.
They may be proud and patriotic Syrians and they may have even gone out of their way for you as a Christian (I assume) but for me as a Jew, (in their eyes) there can never be reconciliation.
Currently, the Syrians have pulled many forces back from their border with Israel in the Golan Heights in order to save the regime closer to home. This just goes to prove that Israel is not a major threat to their country no matter what the fanatical, lying hatred in their government controlled media and entertainment would claim.
I would be curious to know if you ever met a Syrian who was honest, intellectually about Israel. Concerning their attitude towards you as a Christian, ok, I am glad you had good experiences but would they take me out for a drink knowing I was a Jew? I doubt it.
Herein lies the crux of the matter. How tolerant are they...really? Israelis are not taught to hate Syrians but Syrians are taught to hate Jews & Israelis. Where is the balanced Syrian view here?
Muslims killing Muslims is a good thing- keeps them too occupied to be killin’ us Infidels!
Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat and Security Chief General Hisham Ikhtiyar were both killed.
Al-Assad appointed General Fahd al-Jassem al-Freij, Chief of Staff of Syrian armed forces, to replace Rajiha.
I think it’s important to differentiate, from a Syrian perspective, in attitudes to ‘Jews’ and to ‘Israel’. There aren’t always problems with regard to the former: a Jewish (though not Israeli) colleague of mine from the UK, who came out to work on IT with us for a few weeks, was quite open about his religion and genuinely treated with just as much courtesy and respect as I was. Israeli backpackers and travelers who happen to have a second passport (ie a non-Israeli one) do travel to Damascus: there’s even a bar in the old town where they tend to hang out: I’d meet some there on a fairly regular basis. They don’t mention that they’re Israeli, but they can be quite open about being Jewish.
Re Israel, then it’s true to say there are strongly negative feelings, in general, though these are political rather than religious, and don’t normally equate to personal antipathy to individuals. I sat up once into the small hours with this colleague and local friends who were both Christian and Muslim (over a few glasses of arak, to boot) discussing religious differences (and even a few shared beliefs) in a frank but respectful and always cordial manner: hardly a sign of a hotbed of fanaticism, though I’ll admit I chose my friends carefully. The Jewish quarter of old Damascus is still known and referred to as such, though there are precious few Jews still living there today.
I also think the point about government controlled media which you make is very relevant. Perceptions of Israel are inevitably shaped by this: as is sometimes also the case in America, most of the ‘masses’ believe what their MSM tells then on TV or in the newspapers. Their media does teach them to hate Israel, as an entity. But Syrian do tend in my experience to have more of a ‘mind for themselves’ than some others in the region. Meaning this doesn’t necessary equate to a hatred of all Israelis, nor, it should be said, are the words ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jewish’ in any way synonymous in the public perception.
As anywhere, there are of course bigots, fanatics, fools and uneducated idiots who believe whatever they see on state TV. The issue of the Golan Heights is a particularly thorny one in Syria, and frankly, yes, I doubt anyone espousing support or admiration for Netanyahu’s government would find many there ready to consider the legitimacy of his opinions.
Perhaps surprisingly, however, I also came across a lot of anti-Palestinian feeling in both Syria and Jordan. One (Syrian, Muslim) colleague commented to me frankly once that in his opinion ‘the Palestinians deserve exactly what they’ve got’. He’d had a couple of drinks at the time, I believe, but I remember some of his friends nodding in agreement, and no-one forcibly disagreed at the time.
Look, I’m not saying that Syria has a bright future. I’m not saying there aren’t crazies there who are out to do in Damascus what Morsi’s lot are out to to in Egypt. But I do think, based on extended personal experience, that there are enough reasonable, educated people there; with a secular, or non-Islamic sense of nationality and culture, that democracy at least might have a chance. There’s precious little to be hopeful about in the ME, so if there’s a bit of good fortune to be had in the way things turn out somewhere, I hope it’s the Syrians who are the ones who get it. They sure as hell deserve it more than the Saudis or the Kuwaitis.
We have wanted to remove the Soviet spawn Syrian commies since Nixon and now that time has come—if Obama is reelected the Islamists in both countries will win and both America and the Jews will be constantly attacked—but if the GOP wins in November conservative influences (aka shock n awe or else) will persuade the Sunni Muslim radicals to not only make nice but to convince their Shia rectum brothers to think twice.
This is a big deal. His brother in law was his top security adviser. Losing him along with the defense minister is a massive blow to his regime.
In the future please link these types of stories to the Israel category since there are no other categories for middle east news, will get more attention among people who follow the Israel and I’m sure they want to see this/comment on it.
It’s a huge deal: appears it was a well-planned FSA operation: bomb planted inside a water-cooler inside cabinet meeting room. Not a suicide bomber.
Assad’s wife also left on a flight to Russia a couple of hours ago, according to sources in Damascus. This, along with repeated reports of mass defections from Maser al-Assad’s elite army brigade (the only one loyal to the govt inside the capital), suggest the end-game could soon be in the process of being played out here.
This is what is known as the “end game.”
Okay, everyone wants Assad gone? Why? He’s a SOB, but he’s a secular SOB who keeps the radical Muslims in line. For the record, he protects the Christians in Syria (with many Christian refugees from Iraq).
I of course have no idea if true or false, but Bashar better have the chocks pulled out from under his private jet and a pilot on 10 minute standby!
Rumors aplenty right now.
Al-Arabiya reporting that the presidential plane took off from Damascus with Assad on board, heading for Lattakia, around an hour ago.
Numerous rumors in diplomatic circles (and the FSA has posted as much itself, also, around 30 mins ago) that Assad’s convoy was attacked earlier today, that he’s in fact been wounded and flown to Lattakia for medical treatment.
The BBC (according to some, though I haven’t seen this myself) have reported that Assad’s wife Asma is already in Russia.
Most disturbingly of all, a Syrian military spokesman on AJA around 75 mins ago stated that regime was now ready to use chemical weapons against ‘terrorist insurgents’. Since then, numerous residents of Damascus have tweeted that elite 4th brigade units have been issued with gas masks en masse in the streets of the capital.
It’s difficult to know what’s true and what’s not, at the moment. But entire neighborhoods of Damascus are warzones right now, with missiles and attack helicopters firing at will on all and sundry.
Had not heard about the gas masks. I figured Assad would send his family out. The House of Assad is falling. He may face the same rough treatment Qaddafi got. Ending up as a ventriloquist’s doll is no fun...
Firstly, Syria is not a threat to israel under assad. Allowing Sunni radicals to take over syria makes Israel virtually surrounded. People were cheering like you when mubarak was deposed in egypt and look, the treaty between israel and egypt is shaky at best and will likely be null and void should there be a coming altercation in the region.
Sunnis are not better than shiites. I would much rather have a person in power who is a strong man and clamps down on islamic extremism (Assad), than any alternative. Muslim nations need strong men to squash any religious extremism, it is their mentality, they are not suited for democracy, the radicals eventhough less in number than the moderates intimidate the living hell out of other muslims forcing them to agree with them else face some sort of retribution.
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