Jihadists Vie for Supremacy in Syria

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Things are going from bad to worse in Syria. The counterattack by President Bashar Assad’s forces on Aleppo is turning the once thriving city of 2 million souls into a charnel house. Bombings, strafings, artillery and tank fire are reducing entire neighborhoods to rubble while people flee by the hundreds of thousands.

But, as the Guardian reports, hundreds of foreign jihadists have infiltrated into Syria over the last few months in order to fight Assad’s forces in the name of Allah. Many have attached themselves to units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Others have sought out domestic Syrian jihadist groups, independent of the FSA, who are just now starting to organize themselves into a fighting force. If they are successful, the Islamist fighters could challenge the FSA for supremacy and replace them as the main group of fighters battling the Syrian army.

Already there are signs that the jihadists are receiving plenty of money with which to purchase arms and equipment from wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And while the US, the West, the Gulf States, and Turkey are all refusing to supply the FSA with tanks, artillery, and other heavy weapons out of fear that they would eventually fall into the hands of extremists, the FSA is in danger of eventually being absorbed into an Islamist army that would be in an excellent position to dominate a post-Assad Syria.

But there is a catch to this rosy scenario for the jihadists: nobody trusts them. In fact, some of the major jihadist groups in Syria are widely believed to be tools of President Assad’s government. The FSA looks with a jaundiced eye on any Islamist group that has taken up arms, and a poll taken last year shows that the Syrian people themselves appear to be dead set against a religious dominated government (although we were assured by all the “experts” of the secular nature of the Egyptian rebellion as well).

Who are the jihadists in Syria? There’s al-Qaeda, of course. They may be small in number but they’re strength is rising as law and order breaks down and they can operate more freely. Most of the al-Qaeda fighters are veterans of fighting the US in Iraq and are adept at setting roadside bombs. They have carried out at least two dozen attacks, according to an expert at Rand Corporation.

Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Al-Nusra Front is a domestic Syrian terrorist group that has welcomed some foreign fighters into its ranks in recent months. They have carried out more than 120 attacks since they were formed early in the year, including many car bombs that have killed dozens of civilians.

But Al-Nusra has a credibility problem. They are widely seen to be acting on the behalf of the Syrian government. Tyler Golson of The New Republic reports:

The majority of Syrians—according to anecdotal evidence from Syrian social media sites—believe that all of JN’s claimed operations were in fact perpetrated by the regime’s thugs. This, despite the fact that JN’s statements are carried over official Al-Qaeda internet channels, and despite assertions by Western intelligence agencies that JN is an Al-Qaeda affiliate bent on bringing down the Syrian regime.

Another jihadist who set himself up as an Emir in the “Islamic Emerite of Homs” may, in fact, have been acting under the orders of the Syrian government. Walid al-Boustani showed up in the city of Homs with a few fighters claiming to be with the Syrian opposition. But after several kidnappings and murders to enforce his will, the people turned on him and an FSA unit moved in to depose him. It turns out, the Lebanese-born Boustani was a member of Fatah al-Islam — a Lebanese al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group thought to be a tool of Syrian intelligence.

So, it is not so farfetched to think that some of the jihadists groups may be more interested in serving Assad’s government rather than overthrowing him. Many of the fighters are veterans of the Iraqi jihad against America. Their entry into Iraq was facilitated by the same Syrian government they now say they want to bring down.

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  • melvin polatnick

    Enter text right here!Macho Islamic violence is increasing with the opportunity for Arabs to get heavier weapons. Muslim men want Sharia Law and will attempt to bury those that interfere with the will of Allah and his Prophet. Giving Arab women the opportunity to become independent by earning their own income will curb Macho Islamism. Free higher education must be available and 75% of government jobs must go to women graduates. Female dominance in the Arab world will end Macho Islamism. Lazy Arab men will be deprived of sexual pleasure; they will then learn how to please women not the Prophet.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    Jihadists will never put down their arms. Syria will live with constant terrorist attacks from here on. The people of Syria will have to face the inherent problem of the Islamic religion. Let's remember that Algeria welcomed Salafists and had constant internal warfare for most of the 1990s in which 100,000 or more were killed.

    Syria is just beginning to deteriorate. Syria has twice the problems. It has both types of Islam: Sunni and Shiite. We should stand back and let them kill each other. We didn't create Islam and we can't end it. Let them experience the full meaning of Islam … and then see if they still want it.

    • Gee

      Actual number is more than 1 million dead, not 100,000.

  • Katharina Sri

    I don't believe such propaganda lies, I suspect coming form the Obama’s REGIME that some of the Jihadists worked for the Syrian Govt! This article make it sound as if the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is legitimate and credible despite that it is dominated by the Islamic-Arabic Nazi Muslim Brotherhood – which actually is more vicious than the other devils Iran or Hezbollah. Since the MB is intent on world domination/OIL/MINERAL and that all kinds of evil Jihadist terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Taleban, Hamas, Salafist, Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Somalia’s al-Shabaab are all actually created/sponsored by the Saudi-Qatar royals/Muslim Brotherhood. Osama bin Laden might be just a small fish in this big dirty and most dangerous game played by Obama and his beloved Saudi king and the MB! And by the way, War Criminal Obama/Cameron’s REGIMES do provide arms although supposedly “non-lethal” – yeah right! Arming “non-lethally” Jihadist terrorists to topple a legitimate govt (imagine this happening in the West – so the Western police & army won’t use tanks and weapons to capture and defend itself & its people from Jihadist terrorists?) is a WAR-CRIME!

    • Katharina Sri

      I mean to say, "Since the Muslim Brotherhood is intent on supremacist, racist, sexist and violent (both psychological/physical) world domination/slavery (especially of women/girls in evil Saud-iArabic veils)/destruction of Israel-Jews & Christians & OIL/MINERAL ROBBERY!"

      • Fred Dawes

        The facts are in the open now all we have to do is look who is behind this evil acts by insane people.

    • Fred Dawes

      some work for obamas CIA Others do not the evildoers can only be understood after the next attack on this country.

    • adrian

      you talk non sense, O K S, the princess of satan…


      I hope all your bad mouth would be returned by Allah to you, your family, and your people in the future. amen.

      look at the islamtoday.com to search the truth

    • adrian

      Who is Katharina Sri?
      I wonder whether this person claiming to be “Katharina Sri” is really genuine or not. I did a Google search for this person’s name and this troll has been appearing on many Malaysian blogs for some reason and signing off with the words “Katharina Sri (former Noor Aza Othman), Germany”. It is very strange for someone who claims to be an apostate to disclose her “Muslim name” publicly. In my past encounters with apostates (especially Malay apostates), they will do their utmost to conceal their identity. At least until their cover gets blown.

      In response to her “thank you, Christ” remark in nearly every blog comment she signs off with, we would like to remind her that her so-called “Christ” (actually not the Messiah Isa a.s. himself but just some half-naked Jewish criminal swinging from a Roman cross) cannot even save himself from death and even cried out “Eli eli lama sabachtani” for help, so how can one expect her “Christ” to save them and thank that “Christ” for it?

      Indeed, Christianity is such a stupid religion that it is not even worth considering by the sane mind.

  • AntiSharia

    There are no winners here. No matter who wins there will be an anti American and anti Israel government in Damascus. Let them keep killing each other.

    • Fred Dawes

      you can see facts thank you.

  • Drakken

    Let these savages slaughter each, the more they do that will be less jihadist for us to deal with later.

  • stuart Parsons

    No comment from he who moves and thinks slowly slowly. I hope you are not ill Schlo.

  • flowerknife_us

    Syria needs to be debilitated as an organized military force. Rendering their vast Armory noneffective,unreliable and poorly commanded helps Israel strategically. Keep this pot of soup boiling. No one wants to eat it so just let it cook down to nothing.

  • Wordcrunch991

    Moran's narrative will not withstand scrutiny. Even casual analysis of the videos from Syria showing FSA fighters (purportedly Syrian army deserters) reveals the fighters' lack of military training, discipline and coordinated action which belies familiarity with a regular army command. The fighters on the clips are nearly always shown in hit-and-run sorties, screaming "allahu akhbar". The FSA appears to be more less a phantom army, a product of wishful thinking of the inexperieced reporters for the networks and calculated deception by the US State Department, rather than even a semi-organized fighting force. I have yet to see a clip of a commander in Syria who does not look like a mujehad. The defecting officers from Assad forces appear to have no standing in the military activity. The western mainstream media perpetrate a massive, cynical fraud not dissimilar to Kosovo, where a criminal organization with ties to radical Islam was sold as freedom fighters opposing genocidal designs of the Serbs.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Orks, Goblins, Jihadists, what next for Syria, nice neighborhood, will Nancy Pelosi go back
    with classy Sean Penn for another photo-op and promote Democracy alla the Dark Lord?
    Assad's friends seem to have walked but there is always the Iranians and Russians and
    Chicoms to keep him company, Assad has not lost yet and is still very dangerous.
    It is reported in the netherworld that the evil forces in Syria are eying Hillary as their
    Queen, imagine that………………………………….William

  • Fred Dawes

    Jihadists moneys will never get out of the way, and the monkeys have many inside the obama camp that want to help with the jihad plan of evil. If we as a people let the monkeys win we as a people are a doomed people.

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