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Syrian National Coalition urges US to drop Al Nusrah terrorism designation



The head of the Syrian National Coalition, which was recognized yesterday by the United States as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, is urging the US to drop its designation of the Al Nusrah Front as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. From AFP:

"The decision to blacklist one of the groups fighting the regime as a terrorist organization must be re-examined," the bloc's leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, said at a meeting in Morocco of the Friends of Syria group that includes the United States. "We can have ideological and political differences with certain parties, but the revolutionaries all share the same goal: to overthrow the criminal regime" of President Bashar al-Assad.

To summarize: The head of the US-backed Syrian National Coalition said he is quite comfortable fighting alongside al Qaeda in Iraq's front group in Syria (see yesterday's designation of the Al Nusrah Front, which the US called an "alias" for al Qaeda in Iraq). Al Khatib sees merely "ideological and political differences" between the Syrian National Coalition and Al Nusrah/al Qaeda.

Now I direct you to this press briefing that was held yesterday by "three senior Administration officials" (unnamed of course) after the Al Nusrah Front was designated. I suggest you read the entire briefing to understand the Obama administration's view on the designation and its hopes that the designation will cause the Syrian National Coalition to distance itself from Al Nusrah.

This is what "senior Administration official number three" has to say:

And it is important for the Syrians in the political opposition and in the armed opposition to understand what Nusrah is and what it represents. The time of a political transition is approaching. It's approaching quickly as events on the ground move. And it is important to understand that Nusrah is an extremist group that cannot possibly be a part of the political transition to a tolerant and free Syria.

Unfortunately, the head of the Syrian National Coalition seems to completely disregard what Al Nusrah represents, and to be just fine with including the al Qaeda branch under the coalition's tent. And lest we think he is alone, 29 Syrian opposition groups have signed a petition that not only condemns the US's designation, but says "we are all Al Nusrah," and urges their supporters to raise Al Nusrah's flag (which of course is al Qaeda's flag).



READER COMMENTS: "Syrian National Coalition urges US to drop Al Nusrah terrorism designation"

Posted by mike merlo at December 12, 2012 3:37 PM ET:

maybe its time for the US to switch sides & start supporting Assad

Posted by Hassan at December 12, 2012 3:46 PM ET:

That means you are alone when it comes to the nations, to the masses to the İslamic world. You are alone in your war against İslam and tour people hate your aggressive crusade operations. You are soo alone that you are waiting since 2 years and watch a slaughter in Syria and than you are coming to operate against a nations will which is İslam. This was really a very silly step for US to design the group as a terror organisation. You attacked a party to whom the Syrian people felt in love during your silence and your absence.

Posted by Ahmed at December 12, 2012 4:56 PM ET:

Does America think the syrian rebels are this stupid.... THey have ignored them for over two years while their children and women were being slaughtered. Now American realizes that the end of the Assad Regime is over, so they will appoint whom they will as the successor and prop up another American puppet??? The truth is the Islamic groups whether they are Jabhat Al Nusra or Ahrar Al Sham or Liwa Al Tawheed, etc are the ones calling the shots and taking over Assad's bases, as recently witnessed with 111 Base. The secular rebels are few and far between. The only question is not if the future government will be run by Islamists, Because believe me it will. But the question is how Islamist will they be, will they be muslim brotherhood esque or will they implement sharia and advocate the return of the Caliphate.

Posted by Nic at December 12, 2012 8:22 PM ET:

""We can have ideological and political differences with certain parties, but the revolutionaries all share the same goal: to overthrow the criminal regime" of President Bashar al-Assad." The day after Assad is gone, there will be some big time changes in al Qaeda's behavior. With Target Number One gone, al Qaeda will take aim at Target Number Two, the group that al Qaeda considers to be the biggest obstacle. To quote my namesake, Niccolò Machiavelli: "The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present. One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.
Politics have no relation to morals." al Qaeda will efficiently eliminate any obstacle in their path to establish the Caliphate. Watch your backs.

Posted by mike merlo at December 12, 2012 8:31 PM ET:

@Hassan
a rather premature proclamation on your part. Last I or anybody else checked, to & including all those that are the opposition to our 'aloneness(that is of course if what you've stated is true/fact),' the conflict in Syria is still undecided. Based on what the world has witnessed to date in other conflict zones within the so-called
Dar al-Islam it would appear that the Muslim Ummah is as conflicted as it ever was & will continue to be so at least for the duration of this generation with possible fall out into the next.

Posted by Setrak at December 12, 2012 9:25 PM ET:

Hassan,
"That means you are alone when it comes to the nations, to the masses to the İslamic world."
Well, we're no more part of the Islamic world than the Islamic world is a part of the U.S.

"You are alone in your war against İslam and tour people hate your aggressive crusade operations."
You mean the aggressive 'crusade' operations we launched in Libya to save Benghazi when Gaddafi's forces were on the doorstep? The aggressive 'crusade' operations we haven't launched in Syria?

"You are soo alone that you are waiting since 2 years and watch a slaughter in Syria and than you are coming to operate against a nations will which is İslam."
You mean the nation under siege in Syria that we've been indirectly supporting for over a year?

"This was really a very silly step for US to design the group as a terror organisation."
Some said it was silly for the U.S. to call for Mubarak to go. Get caught killing civilians and people won't be as eager to shake the bloody hand.

"You attacked a party to whom the Syrian people felt in love during your silence and your absence."
Because the U.S. doesn't want this party to oppress minorities and democracy like how Assad suppressed the majority and democracy. To say the U.S. has been silent on Syria is nonsense, to say we've been absent is mostly accurate. The U.S. has been trying to be as indirect as possible when it comes to supporting the rebels, but is clearly supporting the rebels through Turkey.

Posted by g at December 12, 2012 10:45 PM ET:

Hasan,

A US presence is appreciated nowhere. Getting involved in Syria would not have made the Syrians allies for longer than it took to eliminate Assaad. It would only have embedded us in another country where we would lose more men and money and never be thanked.

Syria will need to live with these zealots and allowing them a place at the table now gives them more legitimacy than they deserve and entrenches them more. Get ready for the barbarism that is Sharia law.

g

Posted by steve m at December 12, 2012 11:02 PM ET:

Hassan, the US can not support groups that align themselves with alqeada for obvious reasons. They may be on the right side now, but what about 5 years from now when assad is long gone? Will you be so supportive of them when they are assassinating their opponents using suicide bombs and killing innocent civilians?

Posted by john at December 13, 2012 1:51 AM ET:

So...the way of Islam is to execute prisoners? Or only those that you don't agree with? How do you expect to do anything but fight? Oh, right...you want to conquer the world.

Posted by HJM at December 14, 2012 2:53 PM ET:

al Nusrah is a terrorist organization since we now know al Zarqawi's bro-in-law was running it before his dirt nap. That and the fact there's more then a few AQI alumni over there now filling the vacancies. That said, this is a case of pick your poison. Authoritarian rule or Islamic Fundemetalist rule? I say stay out of it, watch the serious weapons and who controls them and let them keep killing themselves and thinning the herd of undesirables. We are never welcome or greeted as liberators so sitting this one out has zero affect on how that part of the world sees us.

Posted by RON at December 15, 2012 12:50 AM ET:

The US will no doubt pay a price for coming into the fray late, now that Assad is on the run, the confrontation is not yet a rout, however for al Nusrah to be publicly planning on being in the winner's circle is paramount to the intelligentsia being in charge, and to again publicly backing al Nusrah, preparing to form a Caliphate in Syria is very troubling for the Western Nationa. Islam is much too harsh for most westerners to accept without a lot of negoiations. The only thing we in the West can hope for is that the allied Islamic's will need support and benefits only the West can provide. Most of the Western Nations do not desire Syria as a potential occupational location, although we do prefer an undisturbed area, which is our primary concern. I am sorry so many people in that country have perished whether martyrs or just plain citizens caught in the crossfires of religion, Islamic or otherwise, which is the curse of mankind.

Posted by blert at December 18, 2012 12:46 AM ET:

Salfists/ islamists of every stripe infuriate everyone the moment they actually start calling the shots....

Morsi is an exemplar in this regard.

Because the Assad crew is and has ever been so nasty, and because it's a front for Tehran in the midst of the Sunnis; it simply has to go into the dust bin of history.

It's going to be bloody and sloppy.

I don't think that any American foreign policy -- however conceived -- has any chance in that cauldron.

It's going to devolve into an all-axis intra-muslim scrum. After all, every faction within islam is in this fight.

Suniis
Shi'ites
Kurds
Alawites
Wahhabists
AQ and its fronts
Turks
Islamists on jihad from afar

It's eight tom cats in a bag -- shaken and kicked.

And, it is increasingly obvious, that Saddam's ex-chemical weapons have been stashed across Syria, too.

I must consider them virtually harmless versus the imminent breakout of Iran into the atomic league of nations.

=========

Based upon economics, it would appear that Iran is about to be thrown into bloody revolution this Spring.

For those not paying attention, ( that's you MSM ) Iran's currency is in a death spiral. Consequently, her ability to import foodstuffs is in peril.

When the cold weather breaks in 2013, Tehran is certain to have food riots. (Freezing weather and riots don't go together.)

Likewise, Cairo is on a ledge, sitting on a banana peel couch.

Tehran and Cairo are the two pillars of islam -- politically and culturally.

Both figure to suffer the JRR Tolkien 'ring treatment.'

And in the West, Hugo Chavez is sure to pass into history. That's the only reason he's handed the baton off.

For the mullahs it must come as a shock to lose both proxies.

Interesting times, indeed.