Jabhat al-nusrah, the most effective and bloodiest militia fighting in Syria against the regime of Bashshar al-Asad officially joined al-Qaeda yesterday. In a recorded message posted on many Islamist websites, the leader of this group, Abu Muhammad al-Julani said that he and his followers are giving their pledge of allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri who became the leader of al-Qaeda after the American Assassination of its former leader Osama Ben Laden. In the recorded message al-Julani said that his group pledges to listen to, and obey the commands of Ayman al-Zawahiri the leader of all the Mujahidin. At the same time, He denied that Jabhat al-Nusrah has joined the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, thus contradicting a widely circulated statement made on Monday by the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announcing this unification. It was reported widely in the Western and Arabic press that the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq had announced on Monday that Jabhat al-Nusrah in Syria has joined the Islamic state of Iraq, and that the two would change the names of thir organizations and the name of the state into the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, the commonly used Arabic reference to Syria. Al-Julani added that his organization and its consultative council have not been consulted regarding any plan to unite with the Islamic state of Iraq. This is probably because he wanted to reassure the Syrian public that his group has a specifically Syrian identity.
It is important to remind the readers that the United States designated Jabhat al-Nusrah as a terrorist Organization last December. Consequently, the American administration has been reluctant to offer military aid to the Syrian opposition, at least officially. However, it was reported in some Israeli Papers that some high level Israeli military official said that they prefer Jabhat al-Nusrah to the regime of Bashshar al-Asad. These Israeli Statements could mollify the American position towards the arming of the Syrian militias. Some European countries especially Britain and France have been trying to pressure the U.S to send military Assistance to the Syrian opposition for quite some time now. This latest development will complicate American and Western diplomacy regarding the civil war in Syria. On the one hand, it will be an embarrassment to the United States to begin arming the Syrian opposition after one of its main factions officially pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, on the other hand, The Israeli clear preference to Jab hat al-Nusrah over the current regime in Syria may encourage Israel’s supporters on Capitol Hill to pressure the administration to begin arming the Syrian opposition. Therefore, we may find ourselves facing another confusing and duplicitous American foreign policy towards the ongoing conflict in Syria, and probably scandals similar to the Iran-Contra-Gate of 1986.