Al-Qaeda, Islamists Seek Sharia State in Syria


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Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is on his way out and the best he can hope for is to create an Allawite mini-state for his loyalists. Al-Qaeda smells blood in the water and wants a piece of the pie once Assad falls. The Muslim Brotherhood, like Al-Qaeda, envisions an Islamic State of Syria. Some of the secular rebels determined to overthrow Assad are worried, warning that the Islamists are pulling the rug from under their feet.

The Assad regime began directly supporting Al-Qaeda as the U.S. invasion of Iraq neared, though the Hezbollah networks supported by Assad worked with Al-Qaeda before that. Now, Al-Qaeda in Iraq has turned its sights on its former sponsor, just as General David Petraeus predicted. One low-level Al-Qaeda operative in Iraq says, “Our big hope is to form a Syrian-Iraqi Islamic State for all Muslims, and then announce our war against Iran and Israel, and free Palestine.”

Saudi Wahhabists are recruiting and dispatching fighters to Syria and the regime is worried enough about Hamas to apparently assassinate one of its leaders. A Libyan Islamist militia leader with Al-Qaeda ties met with the Free Syria Army in November and is almost certainly responsible for the arrival of Libyan fighters afterwards. The Free Syria Army, consisting largely of army defectors, is generally regarded as a secular force but jihadists sometimes operate under its banner. For example, a video has surfaced of fighters claiming to belong to the Free Syria Army with the flag of Al-Qaeda in the background. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, says there are about 300 different rebel groups in Syria and as many as one-fourth may be Al-Qaeda supporters.

The biggest foreign supporters of the rebels are Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia—all three of which support Islamists. One Islamist fighter belonging to a group called the Revolutionary Shield says he and 100 of his colleagues have been getting $120 per month for three months. He believes the funding comes from the Gulf countries and is distributed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar’s role is worrisome because it used its influence to help the Islamists in Libya. Secular Syrians accuse Turkey of doing the same thing, with one Kurdish leader explaining, “Turkey supports the Islamists in Syria and puts them out front.”

The opposition umbrella body called the Syrian National Council is based in Turkey and is being used by the Muslim Brotherhood to meet its stated “desire to coordinate the position of the opposition.” After the SNC was formed, it immediately sent a delegation to Qatar to meet with Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood cleric. Syria expert Thomas Pierret believes about half of the leaders in the SNC are Islamists and they are in charge of distributing the funds provided by the international community.

Many secularist opposition figures have left the SNC because of the Islamist influence. One, Kamal Labwani, complained to RadicalIslam.org about how the U.S. is pressuring the opposition to unite under the SNC. Another secularist, Walid al-Bunni, said, “We [secularists] became like extras.” Sherkoh Abbas of the Kurdistan National Assembly pit it bluntly: “[The SNC has] a hidden agenda to bring an Islamist, Sunni Arab nationalist regime to Syria by excluding the Kurds and other minorities.”

One of the leaders of the SNC is a prominent member of the American Muslim Brotherhood, Louay Safi.

He has worked as a top official in at least two Muslim Brotherhood fronts and was labeled an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case against Sami al-Arian, a Brotherhood operative who served as the chief of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the U.S.

The Brotherhood allowed secularists to take the top post in the SNC in order to have an “accepted face” while controlling the body behind the scenes, as a top Brotherhood official explains here. It’s worked. The Friends of Syria, including the U.S., endorsed the SNC on April 1. Before that, on September 24, a State Department official took part in an event with an SNC representative that was organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a member of the American Muslim Brotherhood. For the past six months, the U.S. Institute for Peace has been meeting with 140 opposition officials in Germany with funding from the State Department. The U.S. Institute for Peace works closely with John Esposito, one of the foremost advocates of the Brotherhood and its fronts.

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  • Gene W 1938

    Consider: Hillary's Chief Aide is the closest relative of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership; Percy Sutton [President of Columbia University’s Borough in NYC and Chief legal council for both Malcolm X Farrakhan and the local Brotherhood] helped arranged for our leader’s higher education at Columbia and Harvard after returning from a mission in Pakistan with two other Occidental Univ. Muslims who were Pakistani citizens [did not require US passports] … Do we have reason to think that our Foreign relations would be supportive of non Sharia Law government. The non Sharia Law counties of Iraq, Libya and Egypt also fell but I just don’t see any connection.

  • ★FALCON★

    To any rational person it appears as if the Muslims are consolidating the entire region which be a Sharia Super State. It won't be Egypt, Syria, Libya or any even Israel – it will be one state under the caliphate. Any reasonable person recognizes it and wants to prevent it.

  • Looking4Sanity

    I have not ruled out a scorched earth strategy by Assad. People who have had a taste of power rarely consent to give it up…especially when they have their finger on WMD's.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Sharia State………where does the Islamist scourge not want aSharia State, they want it here in
    America and are working towars that goal, bit by bit, day by day with Obama's help and leftist
    approval…………………William

  • Bone in my Trous

    Strange how the US sits back and watches the drama in Syria unfold. Call it revenge. Revenge, for all the crap Syria have started in their sponsorship of terrorism. Goodbye, Syria. At last, your chickens have come home to roost! Suffer!

    "Sharia don't like it… rock tthe casbah"!