The theory stating that turning the Syrian peaceful uprising into a violent insurgency will start a civil war is treated as a matter of fact now. Signs of Islamization of the revolution recently surfaced, and coincided with the loss its peacefulness – due to the brutal regime crackdown. Syrian activists always interpreted the Quraan background or Allah ow Akbar chants in some YouTube videos as spontaneous representations of the personalities in some rural areas. This might be true, and quite irrelevant but it doesn’t mean that AlQaeda won’t enjoy the fertile ground of chaos, and may attract some local followers.
Lebanon Spring previously reported sectarianism to be peaking in Syria. The Arab Digest spotted trails of some AlQaeda influencers (like Abu Musaab Al Souri) in Syria with its sources saying that seven thousands fighters, whom were harbored by the Syrian regime, have returned from Iraq. AlQaeda’s presence caused a big row in Lebanon for the past month, but I won’t get into this now, because the subject was abused by the political divisions between the Hezbollah and anti-Hezbollah camps; pretty substance-less as usual.
All the above factors might have made AlQaeda’s presence a reality in Syria, as happening now. A new jihadi group has been announced with their video reportedly (by MEMRI) posted today on the jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam. The group was called Jabhat Al-Nusra Li-Ahl Al-Sham (Front for the support of the people of Sham), and declared the jihad against Bashar Assad’s regime.
The embedded 16-minute video, which I had no strong reason to discredit its authenticity, talked about Syria as a ‘station’ in the whole [Islamic] Umma. It presented itself defender of Muslims in Syria and the world, slamming the Arab League and their mission, Iran and Turkey for their collaboration with the ‘Baathist enemy’ and ‘western enemy’ respectively. Interestingly, the video didn’t send any message to Israel, although it mentioned the ‘Jews’ while quoting a Quranic verse. The graphic skills used in producing the video seemed descent, thanks to the group’s media company Al-Manara Al-Baida (the White Lighthouse).
Syria has entered the chaos phase with no clear end in the twilight. This new AlQaeda unwelcome entry will just make things worse. Its presence will ‘validate’ the brutality of the Syrian regime, ease western pressure (or at least the hawkish positions on Syria), galvanise the regime’s fans around it and increase the wariness of the people who were still sitting on sidelines. This is the worst combination the Syrian revolution could have now. The only hope is for this new Jihadi group to attract little support from the Syrian communities.