Al Qaeda Jumps into the Syria Fray

Al Qaeda offered support to the Libyan rebels, and has just added Syria to the campaign of exploitation.

Al-Qaida’s new senior leader is trying to co-opt Syria’s revolution with a message of anti-Americanism and hate, in a new video translation recently released to jihadi forums.

“Peace be upon you while you teach the rebellious, treacherous, traitorous system severe lessons on how to resist him, his corruption and treachery, his compliance in favor of the global hegemony and his desertion of Golan,” Ayman al-Zawahiri says in his attack on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. “Peace be upon you, O champions and heroes! Indeed you have presented a great example, teaching your Arab and Islamic Ummah lessons about sacrifice, resilience and fighting injustice.”

In the clip, “The Glory of the East Begins with Damascus,” Zawahiri paints America as responsible for pulling the strings of Syria’s brutal regime. His conspiracy theory alleges America wants to manipulate the region for its own interests and to protect Israel from the wrath of the revolution.

Notably, Zawahiri tries to blend traditional al-Qaida ideas with Syrian resistance to the regime. This means praising the martyrs in Islamist strongholds like Homs and Hama, showing local bravery as a rejection of American intervention in the Middle East, and manipulating popular grievances against Israel to strike out against the United States.

The propaganda includes reciting a long line of salutes and poetry about Syria’s famous warriors and conquerors, and also incorporating modern martyrs into the list. “Peace be upon you, O courageous and fierce, free and noble, in Daraa, Jisr ash-Shugur, Ma’arrat al-Numan, Baniyas, Homs, and Hama, the land of heroism and martyrdom,” Zawahiri said, recognizing places where Syrians had staged protests.
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The commander of the Libyan rebels admits that his fighters have ties to Al Qaeda. Eastern Syria is rapidly becoming an Al Qaeda refuge, and it has considerable influence in Yemen.

Some analysts believe that the ‘Arab Spring’ has weakened Al Qaeda’s grip and that the terrorist group has “been scrambling to respond to the Arab revolts in an effort to stay relevant”.  The anger may be focused on the respective regimes of each country in revolt, but that could easily be channeled into more anti-American terrorism.
We should take each one of these ‘revolutions’ with a grain of salt; pay close attention to the groups and organizations behind the protests. It’s not in the nature of muslims to encourage democracy over Islam. The Middle East is a caldron of political and Islamic dysfunction.

Don’t expect this to end well.

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