About halfway down a New York Times' story on Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, the paper reports a disturbing new detail about the Syrian opposition. According to Clinton, rebels in Syria have been receiving "messages" from a part of Pakistan where al-Qaeda's core leaders are believed to be hiding out:
It's no secret that, during the course of the now two-year conflict in Syria, some very nasty rebel groups have emerged there. Some of those groups profess extreme and violent ideologies; one prominent rebel group, Jabhat al-Nusra, is reportedly linked to al-Qaeda's Iraq-based branch.
But direct communication between Syrian rebels and the core al-Qaeda leadership holed up in Pakistan would be potentially far more significant for two reasons.
First, this would suggest that some rebels have already aligned themselves with al-Qaeda's global jihad movement, which they could pursue in all sorts of awful ways if and when the civil war ends. That bodes very poorly for post-Assad Syria, with groups like al-Nusra a potential threat to more than just Syrians.
Second, it's a bad sign because, after several bruising years for al-Qaeda, the group could renew its reach through a potential Syrian proxy. The Washington Post's Greg Miller and Joby Warrick reported this weekend on why U.S. counterterrorism officials are so worried about Jabhat al-Nusra's links to al-Qaeda:
Al-Nusra, as it is known, was linked to suicide attacks on Syrian security installations last year that also killed dozens of civilians. Unlike rival groups, it has called attention to its al-Qaeda ties and is thought to have attracted as many as 10,000 fighters.
Its short-term objective — the ouster of Assad — puts it in uncomfortable alignment with U.S. interests. But U.S. intelligence officials said they are gravely concerned that al-Nusra militants, including some who hold western passports, might move elsewhere in the Middle East or into Europe when the rebellion in Syria ends.
They are a "highly effective opposition force," a senior U.S. intelligence official said of the group, which seeks to impose Islamic rule. "If they don't have a role to play [in a future Syrian government] where does that capability disperse?"
In other words, what do these fighters, who now have fighting experience and possibly even a line to al-Qaeda's central command, do once the civil war ends? It's a scary question...JA
- The above information were posted by real Syrian activists from Syria & around the world, not by western intelligent post offices duped activists.