Qaeda in Iraq Syria Role Boast Could Hurt Nusra Front
Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s public boasting of its role in spawning and supervising Syria’s Al-Nusra Front could backfire on the jihadist rebel group’s support on the ground, analysts say.
The announcement, in an audio message posted on jihadist forums, confirmed widespread suspicions of links between the two organisations, both of which are blacklisted as terror groups by Washington.
But the move could undermine support for Al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra in Arabic, which has been credited with playing a major role in rebel gains against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, analysts said.
“This could potentially hurt Jabhat al-Nusra within the country, which would then affect the insurgency on some level,” Aaron Zelin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said.
“Jabhat al-Nusra has got a really good reputation in the country, and the name Al-Qaeda is discredited throughout most of the Muslim world at this point.
“Do people not remember what the guys in Iraq did five years ago?” he asked, referring to the group’s reputation for brutality to civilians during the height of Iraq’s bloody sectarian conflict.