Al-Qaeda Resurgent in Syria

Steven LeBlanc

Al Qaeda’s rise to power among Syrian rebels is a serious concern for both Israel and the United States.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal– a few months ago, the then second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell) stated that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States national security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons. Morrell also said– “I don’t remember a time when there have been so many national security issues on the front burner as there are today,”

Jessica Lewis, research director at the Institute for the Study of War, says the Syrian civil war helped resuscitate al Qaeda. “I see that conditions in Syria are the primary driver that gave al Qaeda the opportunity to become strong again both in terms of having mutual support areas in military terms, but also in terms of resources, also in terms of human resources,”

The head of al-Qaeda in Syria, a man know only as Abu Mohammed al-Golani, said “victory will come soon”—that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria—an Iranian pawn will be overthrown by Sunni rebels.

Golani, who comes from Syrian Golan, which borders Israel, is the leader of the new group, Jabhat Al-Nusra. “The Nusra Front does not seek to rule society on its own when we reach the stage of the liberation of Sham (Syria),” Abu Golani told Al Jazeera (popular TV station that broadcasts to the world—out of Qatar) in the pre-recorded interview. The Nursa front declares allegiance to al-Qaeda and deployed its methods, including suicide bombing to gain territory in the Syrian civil war.
In the interview Golani boldly makes an open appeal for support from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states (these are Sunni nations that fear Shia Iran).

He describes the group’s battles in the context of a Shia/Sunni religious war asserting that the war is against Shiite Iran and Iranian expansion – Saudi Arabia, fears Iranian influence over its own Shia minority, and is fervent to overthrow Iran’s ally President Bashar al-Assad. “If the Assad regime remained in power, which is in the interest of the superpowers and the Safavids, then the next target will be the Arabian Peninsula, now known as Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Jabhat Al-Nursa now controls one of Syria’s main oilfields—the al Omar oil field (Eastern Syria). Losing the al-Omar oil field would mean Assad’s forces would be almost completely reliant on imported oil, a great disadvantage in their fight against the rebels.

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said “Now, nearly all of Syria’s usable oil reserves are in the hands of the Nusra Front and other Islamist units,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory. “The regime’s neck is now in Nusra’s hands.”

American policy toward the Syrian rebellion has proceeded erratically. Lack of direction from America regarding the Middle East has only encouraged more chaos in the region. America, viewed as a crippled giant by the Saudis, Israel and the Emirates, seems overwhelmed. These nations are disgusted at what they consider the blatant show of weakness by the American leadership.

I have repeatedly quoted this passage on our radio program, but it bears repeating—as the Syrian civil war is waged by mostly the modern day descendants of Ishmael—a brother against brother—cousin against cousin Civil war that has tragically taken the lives of over 120,000 people:

The way of Islam is one of hostility, anger and war…the prophecy of Genesis 16 continues to play out: “You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your misery, He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers”—verses 11-12.

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