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&#34Al Qaeda&#34 arrives in Syria - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In what should be considered the beginning of a battle, Syrian Security Forces affirmed that they have clashed with extremist impostors in a fight that killed one of these extremists, as well as two members of the Syrian forces. Syria has kept away from confrontations with armed fundamentalists who have targeted almost all Arab states over the past few years. There are two major reasons for this, primarily is that Syrian security has been strictly controlled and administered for a long time prohibiting these groups from setting foot on Syrian land. Secondly, is that groups such as Al-Qaeda have selected certain countries as their primary targets and has postponed others such as Syria.

However, Syria is like all its Arab counterparts as it considers such groups as political tools with whom alliance is necessary during certain points of the game. Such a belief has been demonstrated in the past as governments within the region have used many Palestinian rebel groups, communist and nationalist groups to serve its own interest. It is a shame to say that such practices are not only common but also successful in the region. However, fundamentalist groups vary in their identities because of their ability to set independent programs, which they are able to implement. Syria has joined these groups in a defiant attempt to face the Americans in Iraq. For this very reason, organized terrorist groups have used Syria as a means of access and as a financial aid to establish themselves in the political arena. However, stability cannot be guaranteed for good, as Syria has now started to slip into dangerous circumstances that most Arab countries have been experiencing.

Saudi Arabia for a long time has considered itself religiously invincible, yet the expanding communist tide of the 1980”s had to be acknowledged by Saudi Arabia. Today, Syria believes that it is invincible in the sense of security, which is why Syria was more than happy to open paths and provide guides for these groups to help them in their battle against Americans in Iraq.

We end with one result, a result that is apparent from clashes that have begun to concern the Syrians. International religious organization views Syria as a potential target. Even the Muslim Brotherhood organization, despite its recent announcements of reconciliation, has one major project on their agenda. This project is altering political regimes and the transfer of power to them. Despite how long the truce period can last, the ruling project is set as the priority of their schedule, as well as the priority of their hearts and minds.

As for Al Qaeda, it perceives Syria in the same light as the majority of the other Arab states, namely, as an atheist regime that must be changed by force. Even if it seems that Syria is encouraging Al Qaeda to attack the American forces, it cannot disguise its atheist regime. The result of all this will be the violent battles that are yet to come. Syria is now being pushed into a corner, as either it will face American sanctions because of Syria”s influential role in Iraq and not Lebanon, or else it will face Al Qaeda, which has demonstrated its great ability to shake the strongest of regimes, no matter how culturally or securely intact they were. The latest clashes with these terrorists means that Al Qaeda has officially begun its war against Syria after previously paying Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Morocco a visit.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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