Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria and the Al Qaeda lie | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The situation that the Syrian people are facing today is saddening, for they are between a rock and a hard place; namely between the tyrannical and homicidal regime, and those who are trying to undermine the revolution under any pretext, despite all the sacrifices it had made over the past 11 months. The latest example in the series of persecution that the Syrian people – and their revolution – have faced is the attempt to trade-on the recent statements made by Ayman al-Zawahiri about Syria, to claim that Al Qaeda is supporting the Syrian revolution.

For as soon as Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a statement calling for what he described as jihad in Syria, others rushed to say that what is happening in the country has Al Qaeda backing, and that this represents evidence of the Al Qaeda movement’s presence in Syria. However this is an over-simplification, if not part of an explicit desire to collude against the unarmed Syrian people! One might ask: how? The answer is simple, for al-Zawahiri’s statement on Syria is not the first of its kind, for he has issued similar statements lauding the Syrian revolution many months ago, long before the revolution reached its peak. Al-Zawahiri also hailed the Arab Spring; indeed his statements about the Syrian revolution pale in comparison to his statements of support for the Egyptian revolution, the Tunisian, revolution, not to mention the revolution in Libya, where he warned the Libyan people against the aspirations of NATO. Al-Zawahiri even called on the people of Algeria to revolt against their ruling regime. So why did nobody show any concern over these statements, whilst today we find people trying to say that the Syrian revolution is backed by Al Qaeda?

Al-Zawahiri not only hailed the Arab Spring, he said this represented a “devastating blow’ to the US. Al-Zawahiri also previously said that the Arab Spring “liberated thousands of the members of the Islamic movement’s prisoners, who were imprisoned by direct orders from America.” Despite all this, we did not hear anybody –whether states or individuals – say that the Arab Spring was backed by Al Qaeda. On the contrary, nobody at the time paid any attention to al-Zawahiri’s statements; indeed the West rushed to call on Mubarak to step down, pushed to implement the Gulf initiative in Yemen and ensure Saleh’s departure, despite the fact that Al Qaeda was always one of the cards in Saleh’s hands, in the same manner that the Bashar al-Assad regime is using it today!

Therefore, the intimidation against Al Qaeda in Syria is nothing more than a new attempt for the regime to escape its duties to protect its unarmed civilians, as well as an attempt to justify the crimes of the tyrant of Damascus. This is something that represents a greater threat to the unity of Syria and its people than the threat posed by Al Qaeda itself. The al-Assad regime sought to consecrate sectarianism in Syria to frighten the minorities and force them to back the regime, in the same manner that this same regime – with Iranian assistance – sought to take advantage of Al Qaeda over the past 10 years, whether in Iraq or elsewhere. This is no secret, but something that all concerned intelligence agencies in the region – and the west – are aware of.

Therefore, what we must be aware of today is that it is the delay in the departure of the tyrant of Damascus, and the extension in the scenes of bloodshed, death and terror in Syria, that are responsible for the violence, killing, and intensification of the situation in Syria, not the talk about Al Qaeda, as some are trying to claim today! This is something that everybody should know, particularly those concerned with Syrian unity, and the safety of its unarmed people!