U.S., Qatar Plan To
Rebrand AlQaeda Into "Moderate" Rebels
By Moon Of Alabama
March 05, 2015 "ICH"
- The CIA supported and equipped "moderate"
rebels in Syria are losing out against
al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. The last
"moderate" group active in north Syria,
Harakat Hazzm, had to give up its
headquarter -including a
warehouse full of U.S. weapons- to
Jabhat al Nusra and
dissolved. Many of its members then
The U.S. military plans to
recruit, pay and train new "moderate" rebels
but the effort is starting veeerrry slow.
Just 100 have been vetted
so far to be "moderate" enough for the
program. There are simply too few non-Jihadi
rebels and warlords available who are
willing to die for U.S. dollars.
A solution to the lack of
qualified "moderate" personal is the
rebranding of non-moderate groups into
"moderates". James Clapper, the U.S.
Director of National Intelligence, recently
moved into that direction:
days is increasingly becoming anyone who
is not affiliated with ISIL.
And so, you know, we are attempting to
engage with them, and that's the whole
point of the train and equip proposal --
project that the Department of Defense
is gearing up for, is to vet, recruit
and train and equip opposition in
sufficient size and capability to
actually make a military difference.
And so one of our
challenges is, again, the recruiting and
vetting part. So we picked
people that not only are moderate,
whatever that is, but
also we have to be sensitive to
complying with the international rules
of law, which in this
environment is a pretty tough order.
"Moderates", Clapper used
gestural scare-quotes, is anyone who is not
part of the Islamic State. That would, it
seems, include Jabhat al-Nusra who three
years ago parted from IS and kept their
allegiance to AlQaeda. Jabhat al-Nusra has
been fighting the Islamic State ever since.
That Clapper thought of
Jabhat and similar Jihadi groups like Ahrar
al-Sham, is obvious from his reference to
international law. The United Nations
Security Council classified Jabhat as an
international terrorist organization.
Supporting it, like Israel does in south
Syria, is a violation of UNSC resolutions.
As a veto wielding member the U.S. would not
like to be caught doing that.
Jabhat al-Nusra is a
Jihadi group following al-Qaeda. It is
obviously a non-moderate groups but as it
fights against the Islamic State it is now,
under Clappers new definition "moderate" and
thereby qualified to receive U.S. support.
Still there is the damned international law
issue that has to be circumvented.
Now just in time a U.S.
puppet entity in the Persian Gulf, which
already though silently arms and pays Jabhat
comes up with a solution for that
Leaders of Syria's Nusra
Front are considering cutting their
links with al Qaeda to form a new entity
backed by some Gulf states trying to
topple President Bashar al-Assad,
Sources within and
close to Nusra said that Qatar, which
enjoys good relations with the group, is
encouraging the group to go ahead with
the move, which would give Nusra a boost
Intelligence officials from Gulf states
including Qatar have met the leader of
Nusra, Abu Mohamad al-Golani, several
times in the past few months to
encourage him to abandon al Qaeda and to
discuss what support they could provide,
the sources said.
They promised funding
once it happens.
The Nusra Front is listed as a terrorist
group by the United States and has been
sanctioned by the United Nations
Security Council. But for Qatar at
least, rebranding Nusra would
remove legal obstacles to supporting it.
A "rebranded" Jabhat al-Nusra
would of course still fight the Syrian
government as its primary enemy. Destroying
the Syrian government is also the primary
aim of the Wahhabi government of Qatar. New-Nusra
would fight the Islamic State only after
having secured enough resources and
geography to be able to expand further. Its
ideological essence would not change and its
aim in the end would be to create its own
version of an Islamic state.
[I]f Nusra is dissolved
and it abandons al Qaeda, the ideology
of the new entity is not expected to
change. Golani fought with al Qaeda in
Iraq. Some other leaders fought in
Afghanistan and are close al Qaeda chief
Rebranding Jabhat al-Nusra
to then declare it "moderate" in the new
definition of DNI Clapper may be the plan.
worked in Libya. But I doubt its
feasibility in the much longer Syria
conflict. It would be a very difficult sale
even for the mighty U.S. propaganda
brigades. It would also mean that the
organization Jabhat al-Nusra, as it now
exists, would fall apart. Many of Nusra's
fighters have joined for ideological reason
and to be members of alQaeda. Should Nusra
revoke its oath to al-Qaeda those fighters
would leave and very likely join the Islamic
The only reason to stay
with New-Nusra would be the Qatari and U.S.
money and equipment that would flow to it.
But as the demise of earlier U.S. supported
"moderate" groups show money and weapons are
not the decisive factor in winning the
fights on the ground.