I’m confused, who are our “allies” again?
The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, released a statement from its leader denouncing the US government’s recent designation of the terror group. Additionally, Abu Muhammad al Julani, Al Nusrah’s emir, commended foreign fighters in Syria and called for the terror group to work with other Syrian rebels.
The al Manara al Baydha’ Foundation, Al Nusrah’s media arm, released an audiotape attributed to al Julani on jihadist forums yesterday. The statement, which is titled “People of the Levant, We Sacrifice Our Lives for You,” was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
While the date of al Julani’s statement was not given, it offers further proof that he was not killed as has been reported in some media outlets. The US added the Al Nusrah Front and two of its senior leaders to its list of terrorist individuals and entities on Dec. 11, and said the terror group is an arm of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Al Julani claimed that the US added Al Nusrah to the list of foreign terrorist groups because “America is venting its anger and expressing its failed role in the region.” Al Jalani also accused the US of propping up President Bashir al Assad’s regime. and said the designation was issued “as a punishment for helping these wounded people [Syrians].”
Al Julani then praised Syrian political opposition groups for condemning the US terrorism designation.
“Statements of denouncement and condemnation poured on them from more than 100 organizations, foundations and groups, to give the name for Friday’s [protests], ‘There is No Terror but that of al-Assad,’” he said. “I express my gratitude and my special thanks to the commands of the factions, groups and fighting brigades that assumed an honorable stand, showing the unity of Islam and the brotherhood of faith against the attack of the Americans.”
Despite Al Nusrah’s known affiliation with al Qaeda and its radical ideology, Syrian opposition groups, including the supposedly secular Syrian National Coalition, have rallied to support Al Nusrah. Within 24 hours of the US designation of Al Nusrah, 29 Syrian opposition groups signed a petition that not only condemned the US’s designation, but said “we are all Al Nusrah,” and urged their supporters to raise Al Nusrah’s flag (the same flag used by al Qaeda).