“Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and its allies seized the last major government-held city in Idlib province on Saturday, in a blow that could expose the regime’s coastal heartland to rebel attack. The capture of Jisr al-Shughur in the northwestern province comes nearly a month after the same coalition of opposition forces, known as the “Army of Conquest,” overran the provincial capital. The city’s fall opens up a strategic assault route for the rebels to neighbouring Latakia province on the Mediterranean coast, a bastion of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, analysts said……… The jihadists hailed victory on their official Twitter account, claiming that “The mujahideen have entered the city centre. The city has been liberated,” Al-Nusra said…………….”
Al Nusra Front has refused to severe its ties with Al Qaeda, but that has not prevented America’s closest Middle East allies from throwing their lot with it. There have been credible reports over the past few weeks that the Saudis, Qataris, and Turkish potentates have given up on the other Syrian opposition groups. They have decided, at least for now, to support the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria as the only group that can give the Assad regime (and its Iranian and Lebanese allies) a hard time. They apparently hope that a refurbished Al Nusra Front, although still an Al Qaeda franchise, could eventually become acceptable to the United States.
My guess is that almost anything would be acceptable to Republican hawks in the Senate (McCain et al) if it appears to have a chance to challenge the Syrians and their allies, so long as it is not called ISIS (for now). Especially if it comes flush with cash to dispense to lobbyists and current and former politicians (the example of the rehabilitation of the Iranian Mujahideen Khalq, MEK, is one example).
That Turkish-Saudi-Qatari coordination (the Wahhabi tripartite) might explain the relative success of the terrorist group. It partly explains the concentration of its operations in areas with easy access to the Turkish Caliphate of Erdogan. Turkey, with its open border policy, has been as responsible as the saudi and Qatari princes and potentates for the growth of the Jihadis in Syria.
Interesting that I mused here about the possibility of the Wahhabi potentates bringing the Al Qaeda back from the cold. They seem to be well on their way, but don’t expect Al Zawahri to hold meetings with Congressional leaders anytime soon (and forget the LOL).
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum email@example.com