Between hasty American decisions and opposition angst and confusion, we have allowed Jabhat Al-Nusra to draw too much attention to itself in international media appearing much larger than it actually is on the ground. Most other rebel groups have recently come together under one command for the first time since the beginning of the armed phase of the Revolution, that’s where the real story lies. But no one is covering it – it’s not sensational enough it seems, albeit this is exactly the kind of plot-twist that can actually help seal the fate of the regime, down the road. Meanwhile, careful not to cross any red lines, the regime is now using scuds and incendiary bombs against his opponents.
It has long been noted that Arab officials have a tendency to say one thing when addressing Arab media and another when addressing western media. A friend of mine finally noticed that I tend to do the same thing, with a twist. For while Arab officials tell both audiences what they want to hear, I tell them what they don’t.
Indeed, when I write in Arabic (mostly on Facebook), or appear in Arab media (a rare occurrence these days), I explain, justify and often defend U.S. positions on a variety of issues, simply because I hate the conspiratorial way in which these positions are perceived. When I address western media, though, be it through this blog or my articles and interviews, I wax as critical of western, especially American, dithering and indecisiveness, albeit I often understand the concerns expressed by western officials, and often share them.
Lately, I have been explaining and defending America’s thinking on Al-Nusra to my Arab audience, even as I was criticizing the timing of the decision on this blog. Indeed, it is not the decision to classify Al-Nusra as a terrorist group that was wrong, it was the timing. Quite communications with opposition and rebel groups could have helped get the message across while avoiding the current public circus, which gives Al-Nusra more attention and weight than it deserves.
The awkwardness involved here can be seen in how National Coalition leader, Moaz Al-Khatib, was forced to call on America to “re-examine” her decision in this regard, even as his group was getting the recognition it needed from the Friends of Syria. Failure to fall in line with America’s policy in this matter, which might soon become a European policy as well, will co0mplicate efforts to fund and arm the opposition.
More importantly though, between hasty American decisions and opposition angst and confusion, we have allowed Al-Nusra to draw too much attention to itself in international media appearing much larger than it actually is on the ground. Most other rebel groups have recently come together under one command for the first time since the beginning of the armed phase of the Revolution, that’s where the real story is. We have managed to make important headway in creating the nucleus for a professional army that could hold the country together in the not-so-distant future. We need to do all we can at this stage to make sure that this fledgling structure is well-supported and professionally managed in order to ensure the future stability and wellbeing of the country.
This task is already complicated by the fact that Al-Nusra is not the only armed group out there calling for the establishment of an Islamic state. We have already witnessed the establishment of the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria almost three months ago. But new groups adopting this agenda are appearing everyday with Ansar Al-Khilafah (Supporters of the Caliphate), based in West Aleppo Province, being the newest comer http://youtu.be/wY8G-Jusw1M.
At the heart of all these developments is the argument over the nature and shape of future Syria. Is it going to be an Islamist Jihadist state, or a civil democratic state? But considering the current level of structural fragmentation, political and communal divisions, and regional dislocations, the real question confronting at this stage is whether Syria will survive as a unified state, or if it can be put back together somehow in the near future.
So far, things do not augur well in this regard.
This is a gruesome video currently being circulated by pro-regime sites. It shows a child taking part in beheading captured pro-Assad militiamen somewhere in Homs or Hama Provinces. Albeit most atrocities continue to be perpetrated by pro-Assad militias, their cruelty is beginning to inspire retributions and copycatting in certain rebel circles. The trend seems unstoppable at this stage http://youtu.be/dOaJQSMmqa4
The bodies of the dead and wounded line the streets of Al-Qadam Neighborhood in Damascus City as a result of random shelling by regime forces http://youtu.be/uNVTJOJSi58
Meanwhile, jets keep pounding Eastern Ghoutah: Hamouriyeh http://youtu.be/DK1o96GEAiA Kafar Batna cluster bombs are used sending people scurrying n all directions http://youtu.be/7UvKtCC-zsk , http://youtu.be/m-W6q0WMb90 Harasta http://youtu.be/7LBb0NTAZ7k
MiGs continue to pound restive communities in Aleppo Province: Marei pounding leaves a headless corpse http://youtu.be/3z9dxIWQtMU
Clashes between rebels and loyalists intensify in Deir Ezzor City http://youtu.be/2TM95ig-xQ4 So does the pounding of the city MiGs and rockets http://youtu.be/44tNqXPHDOw , http://youtu.be/5tmPSfb9fCE
MiGs pound the town of Tal Abyad, Raqqah, on the border with Turkey http://youtu.be/X8FrKeh6sRY
This video just surfaces showing MiGs pounding the old town in Homs City back on December 9 http://youtu.be/9jE7AtaiagY
Leaked video shows the interrogation and torture of a prisoner by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/Ng5h62nkqnY