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Suicide bombings in Syria: Cease-fire in shambles, Al Qaeda role is feared

The suicide bombings' heavy toll in Damascus, far from creating international resolve, reveal a deepening split among world powers. Meanwhile signs of Al Qaeda involvement are mounting.

Protesters wave Syrian revolutionary flags during a demonstration at al-Hamra neighborhood in Homs, Syria, Friday, May 11. A Syrian opposition leader said Friday the regime is trying to destroy a UN-brokered peace plan for the country.


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The suicide bombings that killed at least 55 people in Damascus Thursday reveal the shambles made of a key argument for Western nations to approve the UN cease-fire plan for Syria.

By that reasoning, sending international monitors into the country and giving the cease-fire a chance would eventually make anti-interventionist powers like Russia and China more open to international action.

But if anything, reactions to the bombings revealed a deepening split among world powers on the subject of Syria. With Russia attacking the forces arrayed against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and the United States finding a way to blame the Assad regime, prospects for any consensus that would allow more forceful international intervention appeared dimmer than ever.

The twin car bombings in busy morning traffic also raised the specter of Al Qaeda’s entry into the Syrian conflict. It was not the first bombing in Damascus bearing the signature marks of the extremist Islamist organization, but the massive coordinated attack strengthened concerns in the US and elsewhere that Al Qaeda might be taking advantage of Syria’s unrest to infiltrate the country (possibly from Iraq) and target the Assad regime.

In response to the bombings, Russia was quick to reiterate its thinking that some members of the international community are going so far as to promote violence as a means of subsequently justifying international intervention. “Some of our foreign partners are taking steps to ensure, both literally and figuratively, that the situation explodes,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said while on a visit to Beijing.


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