Al Qaeda in Iraq Are Getting More Involved in the Syrian Civil War

Credit: VOACredit: VOAOne of the main reasons that an intervention in Syria has not begun is that politicians, diplomats, and intelligence officials are rightly concerned about the influence of jihadist fighters within Assad’s opposition. One group in particular, Jabhat Al Nusra, has received quite a bit of attention not only because of the jihadist beliefs that motivate its members but also because it has been playing a significant role in the conflict. Jabhat Al Nusra was labeled as a terrorist organization by the American government six months ago.

As worrying as Jabhat Al Nusra is it has recently been reported that Al Qaeda in Iraq is becoming increasingly involved in the Syrian civil war, and is beginning to overshadowing Jabhat Al Nusra.

It might initially seem that another jihadist group getting more involved in the fight against Assad does not change much. However, it appears that Al Qaeda in Iraq have goals that would have a significant impact on the region if the rebels succeed in overthrowing Assad.

From Reuters:

Al Qaeda's Iraq-based wing, which nurtured Nusra in the early stages of the rebellion against Assad, has moved in and sidelined the organization, Nusra sources and other rebels say.

Al Qaeda in Iraq includes thousands of foreign fighters whose ultimate goal is not toppling Assad but the anti-Western jihad of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri - a shift which could extend Syria's conflict well beyond any political accord between Assad and his foes. The fighting has already cost 90,000 lives. 

With Assad gone it will be easier for Al Qaeda in Iraq to use Syria and the surrounding region as a base for future operations, which will not only be of concern to Syria’s neighbors (perhaps most notably Israel), but also Europe and the U.S.

The rebels are not the only belligerents in the conflict that have terrorists within their ranks. Hezbollah, which enjoys support from Iran, has been fighting on the side of Assad's regime.

Unfortunately for those that favor humanitarian intervention the conflict in Syria includes unpleasant elements on both sides.

What may happen is that the dilemmas involved in arming the Syrian rebels and the urge to intervene will prompt countries like the U.S., France, and the U.K. to intervene more directly. While the deployment of western troops on the ground in Syria remains unlikely it should not be surprising if some countries decide to execute an operation similar to what was seen in Libya, where a no-fly zone was put in place and NATO members carried out airstrikes. 

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  • Tman||

    Maybe if we just shut down Youtube they will stop fighting.

    THOSE GOD FORSAKEN VIDEOS WILL BE THE DEATH OF US ALL!!!!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Wouldn't that make them Al Qaeda in Syria?

  • A Serious Man||

    SPLITTERS!

    //Al Qaeda in Iraq

  • ChrisO||

    Al Qaeda in Iraq in Syria.

  • MWG||

    I wonder how much support Assad offered foreigners flowing into Iraq over the last 10 years.

    Karma sure is a bitch.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Rather a lot - the "rat line" coming in from Syria was nasty.

  • Lyle||

    A lot. They got on a bus to Iraq right in front of the U.S. embassy/consulate/whatever in Damascus.

  • sarcasmic||

    So when Obama gives aid to the rebels does that make the United States a state sponsor of terrorism?

  • CE||

    Now wait a second... Christian Mingle is claiming they will help you find "God's match for you"? What about truth in advertising? Maybe God really wants you to marry someone in your church, or while helping the homeless.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Maybe they have the Ark of the Covenant, and it really is a radio to talk to God!

    *Repeat, Our Father, please instruct us on CE's match, over"

  • Jordan||

    A perfect demonstration of why we shouldn't be anywhere near this clusterfuck.

  • Spoonman.||

    So now when Obama intervenes, Democrats will claim it's Bush's fault?

  • Skip||

    They've been doing it for 5 years anyway.

  • A Frayed Knot||

    It's going to be Al-Qaeda vs. Hezbollah and it's going to be epic. I'm hoping they'll both be very successful in killing each other.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That may already be happening if you consider Nusra to be AQ. Best civil war ever.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is odd. I was under the impression that Nusra and AQI were one in the same essentially.

  • Westmiller||

    Reason seems to be falling into a habit that is common in the mainstream press: frivolously using the word "jihad" as equivalent to malicious violence:
    "Jabhat Al Nusra, has received quite a bit of attention not only because of the jihadist beliefs that motivate its members ..."

    The word "jihad" means "struggle" and is used in Islam to refer to the (Greater) "struggle for purity" or the (Lesser) "struggle for justice". It isn't a "belief", it is a perfectly moral ethic ... consistent with Christian ethics.

    What motivates the radical Muslim "struggle for justice" is the military intervention of foreigners into their rather primitive, tribal cultures ... which they consider worthy of retaliation. Only a tiny percentage believe that attacks on innocent civilians is a proper form of retaliation. Terrorism is just a military tactic (frequently used by major powers) of scaring civilians into demanding changes in their government's policy.

    I hope Reason will be a little more cautious about their use of the word "jihad" in reference to militant terrorist tactics.

  • Lyle||

    You have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

    Are you not aware of how many Muslims these violent Islamists kill? Is the Syrian civil war a foreign intervention? The foreigners intervening in Syria are violent Islamist you dumb shit.

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