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The Syrian Suicide Bomber in Iraq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The story of the Syrian suicide bomber who was arrested before detonating himself in the middle of a crowd of worshippers at the Hussainiyah Al Zahra mosque in the city of Kirkuk during Friday prayers raises more questions than it answers, despite the fact that the would-be suicide bomber’s identity was revealed.

The Syrian youth is 19 years old, and arrived in Iraq two and half years ago i.e. when he was around 16 years of age. It turns out that he previously received training in the [Syrian] city of Homs, prior to being arrested by the Syrian authorities in their confrontation with extremists.

The most prominent questions here is how could this youth be arrested in Damascus yet end up in Iraq? If we look backwards in order to find out the timing of his arrest in Syria, we will see that he was either arrested against the backdrop of the 2004 attacks on the diplomatic quarter in Damascus, or after the 2006 pursuit of terrorism in Homs.

How could this youth have been arrested and released this quickly, and then find a way into Iraq despite the fact that he is under suspicion in Damascus? This is puzzling, especially since Syria is a country with special standards where national security is a major creed and not just a national duty.

The other issue in this case is the likely threat to Syria from Syrian terrorists returning from Iraq, which is something that will happen sooner or later. In the same way that in movies a criminal always returns to the scene of a crime, terrorists return to their home countries, and when they do so they do not return persuaded of moderation, but hungry for more blood. Therefore the threat to Syria and Syrian security from terrorism is still present and significant; terrorists have not been deprived of the reasons that – at least in their own eyes – justify their undertaking of terrorist operations in their [own] countries, and so the question is now where will they attack, but how and when?

Therefore the story of the [attempted] suicide bomber in Kirkuk must be more disturbing to the Syrians than to others in the region, for it is an indication that Syria is still potentially open to the evil of terrorism, unless it is consciously and adequately dealt with.

When I mean by this is having an awareness of the consequences of the terrorists returning to Syria. Syria is a strategic goal for the terrorists, especially if we recall what was written in Abu Musab Al Suri’s book “The Syrian Experience.” Abu Musab Al Suri is one of the most important fundamentalist leaders, and in his book he looks at terrorism in Damascus in detail.

Anybody that is following the news of terrorism in Syria will believe that this is a small phenomenon, and is an issue that does not require concern, but those that do deeper research will be surprised by the amount of news about terrorist operations [in Syria] published here and there, and there have been sporadic prosecutions [for terrorist related crimes] over the previous four years.

We must not forget about the military operation carried out by US helicopters in the Abu Kamal region of Syria close to the Iraqi border last year, which resulted in the death of a number of people allegedly affiliated to Al Qaeda. We must also not forget the uncertainty surrounding the assassination of Mahmud Gul Aghassi AKA Abu Al-Qaaqaa, outside of a mosque in Aleppo following Friday prayers. Abu Al-Qaaqaa was said to behind the recruitment of [Syrian] youth for fighting in Iraq.

The last word here – to all those who are paying attention to this issue – is that terrorism – like fire – burns those that play with it, such as those that undergo terrorist training, incite or facilitate terrorism, and even those that turn a blind eye towards it.