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Syria, Saudi and the U.S. Embassy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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According to the story published from Damascus concerning the American embassy attack in the Syrian capital at the beginning of September, the four instigators were trained and sent from Saudi Arabia and were victims of fiery religious speeches.

It is possible that the culprits did actually come from Saudi Arabia from where they may have planned the operation and may have gained financial support, as terrorism has no borders and is not exclusive to any nationality. However, the published Syrian story is weak and has been so since the beginning. It seems that it is merely a settling of political accounts as Damascus is in disagreement with Riyadh.

Syrian authorities refused to allow any party to participate in or attend interrogation sessions; consequently, there is the one official story, which at present is a story that lacks credibility and that is full of gaps. The four culprits entered an upper-class and highly monitored district in a city that is known as one of the strictest in the world regarding surveillance and security issues. The terrorists attacked the embassy from behind the walls only to be killed during confrontation with security officials, as if it was planned to take place on the streets.

Once again, we must take into account the validity of the published details of the story especially that the targeting of American embassies by armed groups is a common occurrence. However, is it not odd that this incident took place in Syria that is viewed by these groups as atheist just like the rest of the Arab governments and is accused of shying away from confronting Israel?

The reported incidents of the past fail to convince anyone of the validity of this story, since the majority of these confrontations have taken place in deserted houses. This time, the official government report announced that the terrorist group was not linked to Al Qaeda or any other organization so how can this be correct even though the report states that the group has been planning the operation for two years? How could it be the result of an emotional outburst whilst the report states that the operation was being planned for two years and that three out of the four culprits from the same family had planned the attack in Saudi Arabia, which has a larger and more prominent American embassy and consulate than that which is based in Abu Romana, Damascus. There are two possibilities here, the first is that the Abu Romana story has been exaggerated similar to the Abu Adas story that was used to explain the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, but was correctly doubted. Here, it would seem that the four culprits are in fact victims of a fabricated confrontation to highlight that Syria also has problems with terrorism and is not involved in organizing terrorist acts, as America and other countries in the region frequently claim. The other option is that it is a true story and the Syrian wall has fallen and that Damascus has become like other Arab capitals in which death squads and destruction related spiritually or otherwise to Al Qaeda have become widespread. This means that Syria can no longer enjoy the status it has had since the seventies as the most efficient country with regards to security issues.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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