Syria: Why Al-Qaeda Is Winning

(National Review) Ed Husain - Our collective excitement at the possibility that the Assad regime will be destroyed, and the Iranian ayatollahs weakened in the process, is blurring our vision and preventing us from seeing the rise of al-Qaeda in Syria. In March of this year, jihadis mounted seven attacks against Assad. By June, they had led 66 "operations," over half in Damascus. In the event of Assad's falling, a new government in Syria will be indebted to these fighters and al-Qaeda will probably gain de facto control of parts of Syria to serve as a new strategic base for jihadis in the Middle East. To the rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army, the al-Qaeda fighters are welcome Arab and Muslim volunteers. Not since the days of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets has global jihadism found this rare combination of native Sunni Muslim hospitality, a powerful cause, available cash, eager Arab support, Western acquiescence, and the constant arrival of young Muslims to fight under its banner to create an Islamist government. Whether Assad stays or goes, jihadism now has a strong foothold in Syria. The writer is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2012-08-24 00:00:00

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