TRANSLATED: How US-allied countries in the Gulf are meeting with Al-Qaeda’s Nusrah Front
Interesting in that one may now see the new narrative of Gulf allies trying to “flip” the Nusrah front to the non-AQ side!
Translated today in our Mideastwire.com Daily Briefing:
On March 5, the independent Al-Rai al-Aam daily newspaper carried the following report: “Sources said that the leaders of An-Nusra Front in Syria are considering to break their connection with Al-Qa’idah organization to form a new entity supported by some Gulf States in order to try and oust Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad. Sources from within the front and sources close to it indicates that a Gulf State is working on encouraging [An-Nusra] to proceed forward with this step, which will allow it to obtain funding.
“This will transform An-Nusra Front from an armed faction growing weak into a force capable of confronting ISIL knowing that the latter group is now being subjected to the pressures of the air raids, the progress of the Kurdish forces and the Iraqi army forces. Although An-Nusra Front is not waiting for a final decision on this matter from its Shura Council, it is however not wasting any time. Indeed, the Front attacked some small, non-Jihadist groups and seized their lands by forcing them into dropping their weapons. The front was thus attempting to enhance its authority in North Syria and to pave the way for the new entity.
“The sources said that officials from intelligence services belonging to Gulf States met with the head of An-Nusra Front, Abou Mohammad al-Golani, several times in the past few months in order to encourage him to abandon Al-Qa’idah and to discuss the support that these services can provide him with. The officials promised funding as soon as the separation [between An-Nusra and Al-Qaidah] occurs.
“The Damascus Grunter, a prominent Jihadist figure closely connected to several Islamic groups including An-Nusra Front in Syria, said: “The new entity will be born soon. It will include An-Nusra Front, Al-Mujahideen Army, Al-Ansar and other small factions.” He added: “The name An-Nusra will be dropped and the front will break away from Al-Qa’idah. However, not all An-Nusra’s princes are okay with this, which is the reason behind the delay of the announcement.”
“The new entity will work on confronting ISIL, An-Nusra’s main competitor in Syria. Some are hoping that the fighters of the new entity…will manage to confront ISIL by obtaining the right funding, training, and armament. Jihadist sources said that Al-Golani suggested to the group’s Shura council a merger between the front and the Al-Mujahideen and Al-Ansar Army, a smaller jihadist group including local and foreign fighters under the orders of a Chechen commander… A source from An-Nusra Front in Aleppo said: “An-Nusra Front pledged allegiance to Sheikh Zawahiri in order to avoid being forced to pledge allegiance to Al-Baghdadi. However, this wasn’t a good idea. It’s now time to let it go. This hasn’t done any good to An-Nusra and caused to become blacklisted.””