22 innocent civilians were murdered by the al Nusra Front rebels in Maksar al-Husan village in Homs in one day on September 12th.
A US-based think tank, the Bipartisan Policy Center, issued a report titled, ‘Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment.’ It states that counterterrorism efforts by the US over the last three years has decimated much of Al Qaeda’s strength in Yemen and Somalia.
The report adds however that ‘al-Qaeda and allied groups today are situated in more places than on September 11, 2001. They maintain a presence in some 16 different theatres of operation—compared with half as many as recently as five years ago.’ Areas include South Asia and Southeast Asia, a resurgence in Iraq and an expansion into North Africa, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Syria.
‘Al-Qaeda has embraced a strategy that transformed it into a decentralized, networked, transnational movement, rather than the single monolithic entity it was on the eve of 9/11. This strategy was undoubtedly the result of necessity; U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the wake of the 9/11 attacks largely obliterated al-Qaeda as an organization,’ said Peter Bergen, the report’s author.
The authors of the report are concerned that Syria will provide al Qaeda with an opportunity to regroup, train and plan operations. The foreign fighters – al Qaeda – could destabilize the region or join forces to attack the West.
Radical Al Qaeda groups, like the al Nusra Front and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are becoming dominant in Syria. The report warned that help to the rebels could end up helping Nusra and other al Qaeda militias.
The Syrian Observtory for Human Rights reports that the legitimate forces inside Syria are fighting the al Qaeda-linked groups and Assad at the same time. They have broken with al Nusra after accepting their presence for more than a year. Since then, the more radical elements have been fighting both the Free Syrian Army and Assad to grab territory for their caliphate.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition elected moderate Islamist Ahmad Tumeh as provisional prime minister on Saturday, entrusting him with the difficult task of restoring order to areas no longer controlled by President Bashar al-Assad, coalition members told Reuters. They hope to gain credibility with the US.
The Syrian Free Army gave up hope of US intervention when Obama asked Congress for the okay to attack. They had regrouped and changed their leadership, cleansing it where possible of radicals in the hope of getting US aid. They even changed the names of their groups to numbers from Islamic-sounding names.
The rebels and US military officials report that since the threat of a US attack has receded, the Assad regime has again taken the lead in the battle for Syria with radical Islamists emboldened against the rebels and Assad.
Obama has a tentative agreement with Russia and Syria, drawn up by Russia, and completely dominated by Russia. Assad will turn over his chemical weapons for destruction by mid-2014 in exchange for the US not lodging an ‘unbelievably small’ attack on Damascus.
The agreement was put together by John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov but not until after Lavrov insulted Kerry’s wind baggedness. Kerry gave one of his long-winded speeches when the met Lavrov for the presser on Thursday. Lavrov said sometimes ‘the best diplomacy is silence.’