A strike against Syria will put the U.S. on the same side as Al-Qaeda for the first time in history and could pave the way toward a power grab by the terrorist group
- Both the U.S. and Al-Qaeda want the Syrian government to pay for the alleged use of chemical weapons
- CIA second in command Michael Morell fears toppling the Syrian government will help arm its enemies, including Al-Qaeda
As an American strike on Syria becomes more and more likely, so does the chance that the U.S. will be fighting on the same side as Al-Qaeda for the first time ever.
Syria’s President Bashar Hafez al-Assad, after all, counts the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks among his enemies.
And without intending it, an American intervention into Syria’s civil war also has the potential to not just aid Al-Qaeda allies, but also to help arm them.
Allies: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that American forces are prepared to strike against Syria at a moment’s notice, which places U.S. on the same side as its bitter enemy Al-Qaeda for the first time in history
Among the voices in the West speaking out against a strike on Syria is English journalist Robert Fisk.
The Middle East correspondent for The Independent penned a column in the U.K. publication Tuesday titled Does Obama know he’s fighting on al-Qa’ida’s side? in which he described a scenario where the U.S. and its enemies become convenient allies, at least within the confines of Syria.
‘Maybe the Americans should ask al-Qa’ida for intelligence help,’ writes Fisk. ‘After all, this is the group with “boots on the ground”, something the Americans have no interest in doing. And maybe al-Qa’ida could offer some target information facilities to the country which usually claims that the supporters of al-Qa’ida, rather than the Syrians, are the most wanted men in the world.’
Though colorful at times, the picture Fisk paints is composed of stark, black and white realities.
Just this week, an Al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group’s commander in Syria has pledged to target communities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority with rockets in revenge for the alleged chemical attack near Damascus.
‘For every chemical rocket that has fallen on our people in Damascus, one of their villages will, by the will of God, pay for it,’ Abu Mohammad al-Golani of the al-Nusra Front said in the recording posted on YouTube. ‘On top of that we will prepare a thousand rockets that will be fired on their towns in revenge for the Damascus Ghouta massacre.’
The Syrian opposition has accused government forces of an attack on insurgent-held suburbs of the capital last week where poison gas appears to have killed hundreds of people.
‘To the bereaved mothers of the children and the people of Ghouta, I say that your blood is a debt that we and every mujahid (Islamic holy fighter) have to pay,’ Golani said in the recording entitled, An eye for an eye.
Nusra’s Sunni Muslim fighters have claimed responsibility for the deadliest bombings in the two-and-a-half-year-old Syrian conflict and their brigades have led some of the most successful rebel offensives against Assad’s forces.
The group has been formally designated a terrorist organization by the United States, a step which Washington said was vindicated by a declaration in April that it was merging with al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq group. Washington now says Nusra is little more than a front for al Qaeda.
That effectively squares the goals of the U.S. and of the terrorist group.
‘This, of course, will not be trumpeted by the Pentagon or the White House – nor, I suppose, by al-Qa’ida,’ Fisk writes. ‘But it does raise some interesting possibilities.’
One such possibility was posed by the CIA’s second-in-command Michael Morell, who believes that toppling Assad—which, it should be said, the U.S. has never said it would try to do with a strike on Syria—would be a field day for Al-Qaeda.
Morell told the Wall Street Journal that the Syrian government’s weapons ‘are going to be up for grabs and up for sale’ should Assad fall.
And while the U.S. is distracted, Morell believes Al-Qaeda could take advantage.
‘If we don’t keep the pressure on them, they will reconstitute,’ he said. ‘I worry about complacency in the face of that.’
Article submitted by: Veronica CoffinFollow VeronicaCoffin