Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Al-Assad’s Qaeda | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Two bloody incidents have taken place in the region, and we must now connect these two events to one another in order to clarify the bigger and more important picture regarding the course of regional events, whether in Yemen, Syria or Lebanon, and possibly the Gulf in the future. However what is important now is to connect what happened in Yemen yesterday with what is happening in Lebanon today, and therefore what is happening in Syria. Someone might ask: how can we do this?

We must first take a closer look at the bloody terrorist operation carried out by Al Qaeda in Yemen targeting the army there; this operation saw an Al Qaeda suicide bomber detonate himself in the midst of a large crowd of Yemeni soldiers. This operation bears the bloody and brutal hallmarks of the Al Qaeda organization, not to mention the intention to inflict the greatest possible number of casualties, as is the norm for this organization in all of its terrorist operations. Therefore what happened in Yemen precisely resembles the crimes of Al Qaeda in Iraq, with regards to the violence, bloodshed and desire to inflict the greatest possible number of casualties, and this in turn resembles the Al Qaeda operations previously carried out in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, whether we are talking about the previous targeting of the [Riyadh] residential compound or the Interior Ministry compound, or any other operation.

In comparison, we must note that all operations attributed to Al Qaeda in Syria have targeted security headquarters, the majority of which are holding Syrian detainees who are sympathetic to the revolution, whilst these Syrian detainees also make up the majority of the casualties of such attacks, rather than security officers affiliated to the tyrant al-Assad, for example. We must also take note of another important thing, namely the timing of the suicide operations in Syria. With this simple but important comparison, it appears that the Al Qaeda that is present in Yemen or Iraq, for example, is completely different to the Al Qaeda that the al-Assad regime claims is present in Syria. In fact, what is present in Syria is closer to Abu Adas [a Lebanese citizen who appeared in a video falsely claiming responsibility for the assassination of Rafik Hariri], and this is the well-known method of the al-Assad regime, whereas what is present in Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan is the genuine Al Qaeda organization, with all its bloody and ugly dimensions.

Therefore, what we saw in Syria was al-Assad’s Qaeda, rather than the genuine blood-thirsty Al Qaeda organization. Al-Assad’s Qaeda is based on conspiracy theories and utilizing whatever cards are in its possession to ignite certain issues, rather than destruction for destruction’s sake and inciting wide-spread terror, which is what the Al Qaeda organization is known for. Therefore what is happening in Lebanon today, simply speaking, is that the al-Assad regime has decided to spark a fire in the hopes of alleviating the pressure it is facing in Syria, and in order to push the international community to negotiate with Damascus in order to restore calm to Lebanon. This, of course, is a sign of the bankruptcy of the al-Assad regime; indeed the clearest indication of the al-Assad regime’s bankruptcy can be seen in the fact that no member of Hezbollah or the Amal movement has gotten involved in the conflict in Lebanon, but rather we are talking about a small group that is affiliated to the al-Assad regime but which possess no inherent value. This is the method of al-Assad’s Qaeda, namely complicating the situation and then claiming that Damascus can resolve everything. This is something that al-Assad has successfully done in Lebanon repeatedly, however the situation today is different, he has failed in Syria, and so he is now returning to attempts this once more in Lebanon, but this attempt will fail as well.

Despite all this, the danger today is that the longer that al-Assad remains in power, the more he will be tempted to use his Qaeda in the Gulf and elsewhere, for it is clear that the regime of the tyrant is prepared – as it has stated on numerous occasions – to set fire to the entire region in order to cling to power. In this regard, al-Assad’s Qaeda is no different than Al Qaeda itself which is present in Yemen and elsewhere, the only difference is that the terrorist organization is obvious, whilst al-Assad’s Qaeda is deceptive, cunning, and backed by Damascus, making it even more dangerous!