Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Thanks, Al-Qaeda | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Vehicles drive past a flag of the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant at the entrance to the city of Raqqa, eastern Syria, on October 4, 2013. (REUTERS/Nour Fourat)

Former Lebanese minister Wiam Wahab is useful, because he is Assad’s mouthpiece in Lebanon.

A few days ago, Wahab spoke out on the Mayadeen satellite channel, saying he did not expect “the Geneva II conference to be held due to the absence of the Syrian regime’s opposition, because those in Syria were ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and Al-Nusra and other armed groups.”

He called on the Syrian government to “negotiate with the opposition, which rejects foreign intervention, away from Geneva II,” by which he means the “domesticated” opposition.

Wahab is bitter at Saudi Arabia because it is, as he puts it, “acting on impulse without calculation, trying to unify the Syrian opposition.” He concluded with a revealing comment that exposes the thinking of people like him, saying that Assad’s regime will remain in power “even if one million people are killed in the Middle East.”

The important thing about the words of the Assad camp spokesman is the reference to Al-Qaeda’s ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. That organization is more vicious than Bashar’s Shabiha and his brother Maher’s brigades towards the revolutionaries in Syria, because it is based on the Takfirist ideology and shedding the blood of others.

ISIS directs its guns at the “infidel” rebels to monopolize jihad in Syria. This has provided Assad and Iran with a golden propaganda opportunity, which showed all regime enemies to be “liver eaters,” a reference to a video of a rebel eating the internal organ of a dead Syrian soldier, as they were described by Hassan Nasrallah in an interesting speech.

What is strange is that a few days ago, during the exchange of Lebanese prisoners who were supporters of Hezbollah with two Turkish pilots, the Lebanese media published comments by Wiam Wahab in which he said: “If there were thanks to be made for this, they should be made to ISIS, who destroyed the North Storm Brigade and embarrassed the Turks who supervised the detention of the Lebanese.”

Here, we see ISIS becoming the subject of praise because they destroyed a faction that rebelled against Assad, the North Storm Brigade, because it was not affiliated to Al-Qaeda.

Wiam Wahab has revealed all. He revealed that the Assad regime has benefited from Al-Qaeda’s presence alongside the opposition in Syria, whether by prior planning or not.

Assad, Khamenei, Nasrallah and Putin—and we can add to them the dithering Obama—are all against a Syrian revolution not centered on Al-Qaeda.