On Saturday, a delegation from Syria’s “main opposition” showed up in Geneva for UN-brokered peace talks, in what is supposed to represent the first steps towards some manner of negotiated settlement to the country’s protracted civil war.
“The 17-strong team from the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC), including political and militant opponents of Assad in the country's 5-year-old civil war, is expected to have a first meeting with the U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura on Sunday,” Reuters reports.
Well, those talks will begin beneath a pall of violence, because earlier today, some 60 people were killed by a car bomb and two suicide bombers in Damascus.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack (perhaps they were angry at not being invited to Geneva) saying they had "hit the most important stronghold of Shi'ite militias in Damascus."
According to SANA, militants detonated a car bomb at a public transportation garage in Sayeda Zeinab district of Damascus, the site of Syria’s holiest Shiite shrine.
As rescuers moved in, two suicide bombers detonated their belts.
“The shrine houses the grave of the daughter of Ali ibn Abi Taleb, the cousin of Prophet Mohammed, whom Shi'ites consider the rightful successor to the prophet,” Reuters writes adding that “Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari, head of the government delegation at Geneva, said the blasts in Damascus just confirmed the link between what the government says are a Saudi-led and funded Islamist ‘opposition’ and terrorism.”
Among the dead were dozens of Shiite militiamen who were fighting alongside the SAA.
Here are the visuals:
And so, just as the Saudis send a delegation comprised of opposition elements to Geneva, Sunni extremists who follow the very same ultra puritanical version of Islam as that espoused by Riyadh have just killed 60 people at a Shiite shrine.
Meanwhile, Saudi officials have begun offering nearly $2 million for information that would help prevent militant attacks. As Bloomberg reported on Sunday, "authorities will pay a 1 million riyal-reward to anyone who 'provides information about a terrorist, [while] information that leads to uncovering a terrorist cell will be rewarded with 5 million riyals."
If Saudi Arabia is serious about "preventing militant attacks", perhaps the Wahhabists in Riyadh should simply look in the mirror.
You're welcome Saudi Arabia. You can make the $2 million check payable to Tyler Durden.