The Guardian reported Wednesday that the CIA’s Free Syrian Army is losing mercenaries to a better equipped, more disciplined and religiously motivated al-Nusra.
“Fighters feel proud to join al-Nusra because that means power and influence,” Abu Ahmed, a former teacher from Deir Hafer who now commands an FSA brigade, told the newspaper. “Al-Nusra fighters rarely withdraw for shortage of ammunition or fighters and they leave their target only after liberating it.”
“Fighters are heading to al-Nusra because of its Islamic doctrine, sincerity, good funding and advanced weapons,” added Abu Islam, a member of the FSA’s al-Tawhid brigade.
Jabhat al-Nusra is an al-Qaeda offshoot. In April, the al-Qaeda branch in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, merged with al-Nusra and the group “renewed the bayaa” (oath of allegiance) to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, writes Rajeh Saeed.
Ayman Al-Zawahiri is the current leader of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden more than a decade ago.
In December, 2012, the State Department officially listed al-Nusra as a terror group linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Treasury Department then imposed sanctions on its leaders.
“Jabhat al Nusra has claimed responsibility for numerous suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent people,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote on December 5, 2012. “Last weekend, disturbing footage emerged of one of their members slaughtering prisoners in cold blood. Extremist militants have also ransacked Christian churches and carried out sectarian beheadings.”
“Among Nusra fighters are many Syrians who say they fought with al Qaeda in Iraq, which waged a bloody and violent campaign against the U.S. presence in that country and is still blamed for suicide and car bombings that have killed hundreds of Iraqis since the U.S. troops left a year ago,” David Enders wrote for McClatchy Newspapers late last year.
Niall Green writes that al-Nusra “militants, drawn to the Syrian war under the banner of Islamist jihad, are recruited from the ranks of Sunni extremist veterans of the wars in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.”
It is a well established fact that the United States and the CIA recruited and supported Islamic fighters in the covert war against the Soviet Union and later fashioned al-Qaeda and the Taliban from their ranks. The United States and al-Qaeda have worked together in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya and elsewhere.
“Islamist militias, including those associated with Al Qaeda, have received hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and materiel from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other US-backed forces – all under the watchful eye of the CIA, whose agents oversee the flow of supplies to the Syrian opposition across the borders of Turkey and Jordan,” writes Green.
The Guardian article underscores the indisputable fact that the Syrian opposition is now almost entirely comprised of al-Qaeda terrorists. On the one hand, the United States insists it is opposed to al-Nusra, while on the other it works behind the scenes with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to fund and supply the fanatical Sunni Salafist group calling for the destruction of the United States, the creation of a pan-Islamic state under sharia law, and the installation of an Islamic Caliphate in Syria.