How to Tell If a Terrorist group Is Still al-Qaida Despite Name Change …

The leftist Beirut newspaper al-Safir comments scathingly on the name-change of the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front led by Abu Muhammad al-Julani, to the Syria Conquest Front. Here are some reasons that the name change isn’t going to work:

1. Al-Julani got permission from 9/11 mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of old al-Qaeda, to sever public ties with him because, you know, being in a command line to al-Qaeda was a PR problem for the Syrian guerrilla opposition to the Syrian regime.

But if you have to get permission from al-Qaeda to change your name, then guess what? You’re still al-Qaeda.

2. In the announcement of the name change, as al-Safir points out, there was no explicit renunciation of the ties between al-Julani and al-Qaeda or of the pledge of fealty al-Julani gave al-Zawahiri.

(Or I might add, any apology for having hooked up with al-Qaeda, ). He just said that a new organization has been formed that has no relations with any foreign quarter.

3. The new name is Front for the Conquest of Greater Syria. Conquest has a bad ring to it. I don’t think Syria needs to be conquered by these seedy-looking guys (and the name implies he wants Lebanon and Jordan and Israel/Palestine, too). The Huns conquered Rome.

The Mongols conquered Iran. Tojo conquered the Philippines. Maybe if they had been a liberation front or a member of one it might have a less unsavory ring.
As it is, it is still obvious that they want to impose their hyper-fundamentalist ideology at the point of a gun on Syrian women, Alawis, Kurds, Druze, secular Sunnis, etc. etc.

4. Al-Safir says that the attempted image change comes way too late. The Nusra Front was asked by former CIA head David Petraeus to ditch al-Qaeda and join the coalition against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), but it didn’t.

As a result, it lost most international support and contributed to a loss of support for its allies. Now, the strategic and tactical situation in Syria has completely changed, since Russia began bombing last fall.
Al-Qaeda and its allies have lost enormous ground in the meantime, and now even East Aleppo has been surrounded.

diggaman.net

Source: Juan Cole – Truthdig

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