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Saturday, June 06, 2015

Sleep Well, Reason, For We Patrol The Streets!

photo: Reuters

The rebranding of the Nusra Front
What are we to believe about Syrian opposition groups?
05 Jun 2015 14:53 GMT long ago as 2012, a secret report by Pentagon officials acknowledged that al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was one of the "major forces driving the insurgency in Syria".

Today, the Nusra Front, an offshoot of AQI which announced its presence in Syria at the start of 2012 and took responsibility for a succession of suicide bombings in 2011, is at the vanguard of rebel-led clashes with both pro-Assad security forces and the fanatics of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Rebranding Nusra

Having been officially designated as a "foreign terrorist organisation" by the US state department back in December 2012, due to it being "an alias for al-Qaeda in Iraq", in recent months there have been several reports suggesting the Nusra Front is trying to "rebrand" and present itself to the Syrian people, not to mention pro-opposition outside powers such as the US, as a more moderate, "purely Syrian force not linked to al-Qaeda".

Should we take this rebranding exercise seriously?

Some analysts do seem to believe the Nusra Front could be a useful partner in the struggle against both Assad and ISIL.

"The West currently sees the Nusra Front as a threat," wrote Carnegie's Lina Khatib in March.

"But Nusra's pragmatism and ongoing evolution mean that it could become an ally in the fight against [ISIL]."

Syrian journalist Ahmad Zaidan, Al Jazeera Arabic's Pakistan bureau chief, believes "the international community must respond to the realities on the ground" and "the verdict on Nusra is not out yet".

Plenty of human rights groups and counterterrorism experts, however, disagree.

Consider the evidence amassed by Human Rights Watch, in a lengthy report on Syria earlier this year.

The Nusra Front, concluded HRW, was "responsible for systematic and widespread violations including targeting civilians, kidnappings, and executions"...

I believe that these situations are such that they fit the definition of chaos: at no time may anything be predicted with any probability.

Nix, the moon of Pluto, is in an orbit around Pluto and its main moon, Charon, and the physics is so complex that if one were to live upon the surface of Nix, one would never know when the sun would rise, ever.
Similarly in wars of many participants of many different beliefs and motives and goals. There is randomicity, and we never know upon which group the sun will rise tomorrow. We never know which group will behead whom, or which group will stone which adultresses, or who will shoot Shias or Sunnis, Yezidis or Christians.
We never know what foul beast slouches towards the cities of the Middle East to be born.

There is no analysis. There is only self-mockery.

... The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


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