Al-Akhbar on Mutual accusations of betrayal btw Ahrar al-Sham, An-Nusra – Anger over op-ed approach
Translated in our Daily Briefing (for a free trial email email@example.com):
On July 24, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “…Once again, speculations are emerging on the future of the relationship between the Islamic Ahrar al-Sham movement and An-Nusra Front. Until recently, the two parties were “intellectually and dogmatically” connected to Al-Qa’idah organization each according to their own way. While An-Nusra pledge its allegiance and became the official Al-Qa’idah branch in the Levant, the Ahrar al-Sham’s allegiance remained secret.
“However, since the assassination of the founder of Ahrar al-Sham, Hassan Abboud along with most of the group’s “first rank leaders,” the relationship between the movement and An-Nusra was hanging by a thread. Many differences emerged between the two sides, some of which turned into clashes in some areas. However, the efforts at containing the problems have always been successful. Nevertheless, many An-Nusra cadres are still eying Al-Ahrar suspiciously. Today, the movement, which is considered the oldest Syrian Jihadist group, is accused of “throwing itself into the West’s lap” and bracing to “confront the entire jihadist movement.”
“Ahrar al-Sham had indeed carried out two attempts at “addressing the western public opinion” through two pieces written by the man in charge of the external relations, Labib al-Nahhas, the first of which was published in the American Washington Post on July 10 while the second was published a few days ago in the British Daily Telegraph. The reactions stirred by the first article merely consisted of some minor comments that praised this step while other comments criticized it through the pages of the “jihadists” on the social media.
“However, the second article stirred some heavy reactions especially when the famous “jihadist” theoretician, Abou Qatada al-Filistini (Omar Mahmoud Othman, a Palestinian Jordanian), one of the most prominent Al-Qa’idah theoreticians and one of the most influential individuals in the politics and actions of An-Nusra Front recently, stepped into the line [of the confrontation with Ahrar al-Sham]… Al-Filistini’s Twitter account carried an article attacking Al-Nahhas and indicating that his “is a failed speech and one that will not be able to achieve the objectives of Ahrar al-Sham…”
“Al-Filistini attacked Ahrar al-Sham and said that this is a “group with a weak mind” and one “that is ready to oppose us (i.e. the Al-Qa’idah movements) in order to please the West… The fastest response to Al-Filistini’s accusations was the one made by the member of Ahrar al-Sham’s Shura Council, Abou Azam al-Ansari who accused him, in a series of tweets, of “dealing with the Algerian intelligence services…” Al-Ansari also described Abou Qatada as being a liar…”