Jabhat al-Nusra, a Leading Islamist Group Fighting Assad in Syria

(Quilliam Foundation) Noman Benotman and Roisin Blake - Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) is a Syrian jihadist group fighting against Bashar al-Assad's Ba'athist regime, with the aim of establishing an Islamist state in Syria. With approximately 5,000 members, JN has often been described as the most effective group fighting in the conflict. There are a number of similarities between JN and Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which serves as evidence of their shared history beginning in the early 2000s. The short-term strategy of JN is primarily military-focused, although preparations are being made for long-term sustainability of the group, including the organization of a humanitarian support group and the procurement of heavy weaponry. JN has overestimated the level of its popular support in Syria. They see themselves as representatives of Syria's Sunni population, which is a dangerous falsehood. Even among the rebels, only a minority shares their ideology and goals, with many others calling for a democratic system of government rather than an Islamist state.

2013-01-09 00:00:00

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