The al-Nusrah Front is an off-shoot of al Qaeda in Iraq, now fighting with the ‘opposition’ in Syria. They are considered to be the best trained and most experienced fighters of all the Syrian rebels, and have been described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force”. And they come from Iraq and other Islamist wars. They are not Syrian ‘rebels’, but foreign jihadis fighting the secular government of Bashar Assad.
al-Nusrah publicly announced its creation on January 23, 2012, and since then has taken credit for multiple major bombing attacks against the Assad regime, the murder of journalist Mohammed al-Saeed , and 43 suicide terrorist attacks in Syria. The group receives the bulk of its financial support from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Its goal is to achieve the overthrow of the Assad regime and to establish an Islamic state that will be governed under sharia law.
Under Assad’s rule, minorities in Syria were largely
protected and lived their lives in relative safety. Today, the situation
has changed drastically. Christians, moderate or non-practicing
Muslims, Allawites, and other minorities now face the fear of death
every day at the hands of brutal and intensely cruel ‘rebels’. The
bodies of men, women, and children, many of them Christians and other
minorities, have been found horribly mutilated and tortured at the hands
of the so-called ‘opposition’ forces.
On December 11, 2012, al-Nusrah, which is comprised largely of Sunni Islamists, was designated by the USA as a terrorist organization . Wasting no time in response, a coalition of 29 other Syrian opposition groups immediately embraced al Nusra, effectively challenging the US decision.
The al-Nusra Front has released numerous statements and videos, produced by its media outlet, al-Manarah al-Bayda (The White Lighthouse). The output is distributed through the leading Jihadist webforum, Shamoukh al-Islam.
In its latest move, Al-Nusra Front has declared a no-fly-zone over the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and once-thriving commercial center on the Mediterranean. Now much of it is in ruins. Not unlike Hamas in Gaza, the ‘rebels’ place their weapons in heavily populated areas of the city, drawing lethal fire from Assad’s military, and destroying much of the city around them.
al-Nusrah has now given notice to airlines that they risk being fired upon if they fly over the city. According to the statement, broadcast on Al-Jazeera on December 21, al Nusrah said its fighters had surrounded Aleppo’s Nayrab airport, and that they intended to fire on it and on any planes flying over it. Al-Nusrah warned that they would use 23mm and 57mm caliber anti-aircraft guns to down any planes in the area.
Although it would seem that the situation in Syria could not get worse, the reality is that it is likely to get much worse. The killing will go on, supported by funding for the ‘opposition’ from the State Department, working with and through Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that Al Qaeda and other organization, including some which are on the US ‘terrorist list’, are an integral part of the Syrian opposition.
Clinton said: “We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and those who are on our terrorist list, to be sure, supporting – claiming to support the opposition [in Syria].”
As the United States continues to provide support for the opposition’ forces in Syria, the American people should be aware of two things: 1) that many of the fighters, including leaders of the ‘opposition’ forces, are not Syrian, but come from other wars in the region, from Afghanistan, Chechnya, Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq, and some are directly linked to al-Qaeda; and 2) that our support for their efforts in Syria not only put the region at risk, but empower al- Qaeda to operated in other countries in the world as well without the interference from (and perhaps with the support of) the United States.
Although he must have known this, President Obama nevertheless put his stamp of approval on US support for these groups earlier this month when he told ABC News, “We’ve made a decision that the Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime”.
Knowing that the very people we are now supporting in Syria are members of a group intent on destroying the United States, the President would be well-advised to rethink his new policy of openly supporting them in Syria. Providing aid and comfort to a declared enemy of the United States carries with it a host of unintended consequences, including the most serious of legal ramifications.
The aspirations of al-Qaeda in Syria are not significantly different from those of al-Qaeda in Iraq, in Yemen, or in Pakistan: to destroy Western civilization and secular society, and replace it with a global Caliphate, governed under Shariah law.
When al-Nusrah threatens the US, they are serious, and they have the backing of a global network of a jihadist organizations. The article below spells out their threats, wrapped in history, and with an invitation to die on the battlefield of Syria, where “your hearts to be roasted in a sea of hot coals, for your fat to melt, and your meat to be grilled”.
When we embrace their brothers in a conflict with secular freedom, when we turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering they continue to inflict upon anyone whose life view differs from their unbending one, when we fail to understand that they are part of a global movement dedicated to our own destruction, we disregard their threats at our peril.
—– Commentary by Ilana Freedman, Editor
A Syrian opposition group tied to al-Qaida has issued a threatening statement against the United States two weeks after the U.S. Treasury Department designated its leaders as terrorists.
A statement published on a jihadist website from Abu Mohammad Tahawi, a leading Jordanian Salafi jihadist who often trumpets the Nusrah Front in Syria, taunts the United States and President Obama and promises bloodshed.
The Nusrah Front “placed you long ago on the terrorism blacklist based on injustice, tyranny and vanquishing people,” Tahawi wrote. “They have made a pledge for themselves to obey the oath of Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] … and you will not know a pleasant life, nor quiet and happy sleep until you return to your homes, with bowed heads, weary, miserable; and you pay them the Jizya (tax on non-Muslims), and are humbled .”
It invokes the treatment of American Indians, the use of atomic bombs in Japan during World War II and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That history places the United States “at the top of the list of terrorists targeted for the fire of our weapons, and the fire of our weapons will not be extinguished upon until you the fire you until you are kept from your intent, your evil, your pride and your injustice, and Right is restored to its people and you return across the seas where you come from,” Tahawi wrote.
In a statement, the Treasury Department said its Dec. 11 action was an attempt “to deny al-Qa’ida’s attempts to subvert the Syrian opposition.” Al-Nusrah has tried “exploit the instability inside Syria for its own purposes, using tactics and espousing an ideology drawn from AQI [al-Qaida in Iraq] that the Syrian people broadly reject. Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed responsibility for nearly 600 terrorist attacks, killing and wounding hundreds of Syrians. These activities are attempts by AQI to hijack the struggles of the legitimate Syrian opposition to further its own extremist ideology.”
Tahawi’s statement treats the U.S. action as a declaration of war:
The land of Greater Syrian awaits you with great suspense for your hearts to be roasted in a sea of hot coals, for your fat to melt, and your meat to be grilled; today you will no longer be able to manage a single battle much less several battles. This is by the Grace of God, then by the grace of the soldiers of Osama who will frighten you and paralyze your thinking; come to the land of Greater Syria, if you be you men or if there is in you the remains of rest manhood. Ah, why are you reluctant to come Oh, Obama? Perhaps you remember the tragedies of your friend Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the bad luck you inherited still bears the burden of its consequences.
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power is seen as weakening dramatically. Reports indicate the United States is considering intervention to stop Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Read the original article here.