The attack near the American embassy in Damascus leaves much to discuss than the quick response of the "brave" Syrian security.
The whole scene falls in the Syrian desire to send a message to the world and to America that the Syrian regime with its secular dictatorship is the best guarantee to stop the Takfiri terrorism that threatens everyone.
I will not accuse the Syrian regime of directly being behind the operation like the Syrian opposition did, whom I agree with though that the timing, nature and happy ending of the operation seem to be more than a good coincidence that serves the regime that is suffering increased pressure from the world…the 'thank you' they got after this operation was a much needed resuscitation dose.
I will leave this particular incident and go back to the time when Takfiri groups were emerging in Syria…it is clear that this incident and a few earlier ones indicate the presence of a radical organization(s) in Syria, the thing that can not go unnoticed by the government in a police state like Syria.
I had lived under a very similar regime for long years, it even had the same title (The Baath) and I saw how the regime followed and counted the steps of all Islamists whether they were Salafis, Brotherhood, Sunni or Shia or just people who happen to pray. There was no way an organized group could be formed without the regime knowing about it, let alone acquiring weapons and preparing for a coordinated attack against vital places in the capital.
There's no agreement between dictatorships and Takfiri groups in our region, they in fact differ greatly over the form and means of governance though they do share a vision for totalitarian rule and they both share extreme rejection to democracy and freedoms and they both view thet western way of living is the greatest threat to the essence of their doctrine and that its dominance means death to that doctrine.
That said, I will talk about the symbiotic relationship between the two.
I see that the reason behind the growth of religious extremism in Syria, Yemen or Egypt is attributed to one main reason which is the tyranny of the authority that makes life a bad choice and kills hope inside the people that many find themselves with nowhere to look at but the wide heavens that of course has its own route to approach.
There's no need to thank Syria for stopping the attackers because the same regime and its policy were responsible for fostering the ideology of the extremists in the first place.
Let's notice the term 'Takfiri' is often emphasized by the governments that use this quality of the terrorists to spread horror and fear among people inside and outside the country. The word 'Takfiri' and what it refers to is enough to intimidate and terrorize everyone, except for the government which holds all the strings of the game and it's the one who planted the seeds of this ideology.
When this trend tried to direct its rage at the authority, a choice I find justifiable and can't blame them for, the response from the authority was severe and painful and let's not forget the extermination campaigns of Syria against the Islamists in Aleppo and Hama, or those of Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt or Saddam against the brotherhood or the Shia or other outlawed religious factions.
All those violent campaigns of mass murder and collective punishment were enough to repress any anti-government movement and that's why they had to look for somewhere else to unload all the anger which could not be contained forever.
Maybe the best choice here for the Islamists was to direct all the violence, anger and contempt in a campaign that also includes the use of media and psychological warfare against another enemy in a way that wouldn't invite the wrath of the rulers, i.e. against the west which by the time became the rulers' and extremists' mutual enemy.
How did this happen over history?
Actually it was orchestrated through a system of information and education campaign against the dangers threatening the dictatorships. In the early times that took the form of rejecting the state of Israel for no other reason I can think of but the regimes' fear from a democratic system that disrupts the continuity of the totalitarian desert.
Naturally it was very easy to adapt religion to serve this cause to give the operation a divine look and to funnel extremism against the enemy that endangered stability of the region with its new system that could make the citizen compare and see the differences between democracy and totalitarianism which became so obvious from looking at how advanced that small state is compared to her Arab neighbors.
The other danger is represented by the free world whose way of life seemed very tempting for people in our region and a comparison between that and life under dictatorships was again not in the best of the regimes.
In this case several mechanism of "education" were employed to direct the violence led by the extremists from the government to someone else.
That was done either through misguiding the extremists; for example I used to hear Saddam's regime saying over and over again, through rumors and planted stories, that America and Europe are standing behind these dictatorships and that was like telling the angry Islamists to shoot at the real enemy which is the "Great Satan" that endorsed the planted the dictators. Not to mention other levels of propaganda that made the west look as the cause of all our problems, that the west is stealing our riches, fighting our beliefs and destroying our culture and history and fears our development.
I really see that these regimes deserve no thanking as much as blaming and pressure because they are the founders of the atmospheres and conditions that bred extremism and made it multiply and bud in a way that it has long became ready for export to the whole world.
The Takfiris are now a weapon in the hands of the dictators and they are using it efficiently to terrorize us and blackmail the west. These regimes are using these chained mad dogs and threatening to set them loose once they feel the threat of a change looming around their kingdoms.
The question is, is dictatorship a guarantee for keeping the leash on those extremists?
Absolutely not, dictatorship will not and cannot guarantee limiting the growth of extremism because extremist groups are the children of those regimes and a natural outcome of the way those regimes ruled these countries.
Dictatorships have all the lust for power and dirty mentality required to ally with the extremists against their enemies whether those are their own people or the west and its ideas of reform and liberty.