Al Nusra Launches Rebranding Campaign to Depict Itself “Moderate Opposition” and Avoid Air Strikes

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Al Nusra Launches Rebranding Campaign to Depict Itself "Moderate Opposition" and Avoid Air Strikes

Flag of the Jabhat Al Nusra terrorist group after rebranding

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 25 details of a “U.S. plan” for military cooperation and intelligence sharing with Russia on Syria were expected to be announced in early August.

Kerry’s statemtent followed the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a meeting of Southeast Asian nations in Laos. The U.S. Secretary of State noted some progress on moving forward with the plan.

“My hope is that somewhere in early August we would be in a position to stand up in front of you and tell you what we’re able to do with the hopes it can make a difference to lives of people in Syria and to the course of the war,” Kerry told journalists at a news conference.

According to the plan, Russia and the U.S. will share intelligence to coordinate air strikes against the Syrian Al Qaeda branch “Jabhat Al Nusra” and prohibit the Russian and Syrian air powers from attacking the so-called “moderate rebels.” [U.S.-Backed ‘Moderate Rebels’ Behead Kid of Being ‘Pro-Assad’ – GRAPHIC FOOTAGE]

Wide speculations have been circulating over the closer Russian-U.S. cooperation over the Syrian conflict since late June. However, the ongoing progress in the field remains questionable The Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group called “Jabhat Al Nusra” is the most powerfull “opposition group” in Syria, excluding the  ISIS terrorist group. According to Jabhat Al Nusra’s statements, the group currently stands at 60,000 fighters, although this number is impossible to verify. The group units participates in the classic warfare with usage of artillery, battle tanks and other equipment, includings drones, as well as it conducts guirella warfare and terror attacks of suicide bombers.

According to intelligence information, Jabhat Al Nusra units have been recieving direct support (finances, arms, munitions etc) from Turkey and Saudi Arabia and indirect support through the U.S. programs aimed to train “moderate rebels” in Syria. In other words, if Washington agrees to coordinate its efforts against the terrorist group with Russia, it recongizes the failure of its attempts to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad by force.

However, the situation is much more compliated.

Entirely by accident, the very same day with Kerry’s statement, Abu Mohammad Al Golani, leader of Jabhat Al Nusra, made a public statement announcing that Jabhat Al Nusra has separated from Al Qaeda, organizationally and taken a new name, Jabhat Fateh Al Sham (Sham Liberation Front).

This move signifies the start of full-scale rebranding campaign, clearly aimed to evade the effects of deal between the U.S. and Russia, aimed at purging the Al Qaeda-linked organization from the Syrian battlespace. The group is amining to depict itself as a “moderate opposition group,” adjusting to the constant pressure from Russians. It’s easy to expect a series of reports in the Western media that will depict Jabhat Al Nusra (Jabhat Fateh Al Sham) decision as an important step on the way to better “democratic” Syria. Because, now, when the group changed its name, nobody has to doubt that it remains a terrorist organization. These reports will likely call the group “rebels” and hide the original source of “opposition fighters” from Jabhat Fateh Al Sham. Indeed, they have never avoided to do this.

Considering the facts and predictions, it’s possible to expect that Jabhat Al Nusra’s rebranding will allow the U.S. to avoid any significant actions under the long-awaited deal with Russia, claiming that there is no such entity as Jabhat Al Nusra at the Syrian battlefield. Moreover, Jabhat Al Nusra (Jabhat Fateh Al Sham) units will likely further shaffle with vestiges of the so-called “moderate oppositions,” using brands such the Free Syrian Army in order to hold the presnce in the Arab country. Strategically, it creates a foothold for the groups’ foreign sponsors to push Jabhat Al Nusra (Jabhat Fateh Al Sham) as a part of the Vienna talks and post-war Syria consensus.

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  • Veritas Vincit

    “A US-Russian coordination pact would enable Washington to manage and constrain the Russian air campaign, in a last-ditch effort to preserve some portion of the opposition until after the upcoming 2016 US elections. Once the political hurdle of the election has passed, a newly installed presidential administration will have a free hand to escalate the war, renewing the push against Damascus through fresh deployments of US ground troops and an intensified air campaign.

    Whatever the twists and turns in its short-term policy, the American ruling class will never willingly accept the re-stabilization of the Assad government or indeed the consolidation of any Russian-aligned regime in Damascus, which Washington views as an obstacle to US hegemony in the Middle East. Factions of the US elite clearly remain committed to the violent overthrow of Assad, and deeply hostile to any compromise with the Putin government.” (In bid to save proxy forces in Syria, US discusses pact with Russia, By Thomas Gaist, 16 July 2016)

    Unfortunately the U.S. has neither abandoned regime change plans nor is reducing its support of militant/terrorist groups (as part of ongoing proxy warfare operations) while agreements are subject to deceit (to be expected as deceit is a tool of war). Negotiations will likely continue to be ineffective.

    Facts on the ground will determine outcomes.

    Note: Sergei Lavrov once stated, “If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it’s a terrorist……..”. This reasoning can continue to be applied to militant/terrorist groups, whatever they call themselves.

    • Veritas Vincit

      p2. Engineering ‘another Afghanistan’

      Various reports indicate an intention to engineer ‘another Afghanistan’ for Russia (maintain the conflict in an unresolved format to bleed adversaries). For example:

      – “Contingency 1, in my view, was the literal overthrow of Assad. Vladimir Putin’s moves, Russia’s, have thwarted this potential at every turn. Contingency number two obviously involves another Yugoslavia in the making [partition operations]. And finally, overall tribalism and chaos [destabilisation] in the region helps the US, and particularly Israel gain strength in the region by weakening neighbors,” the political analyst [US political analyst Phil Butler] stressed.” (Syrian Gambit: US at Pains to Create ‘Another Afghanistan’ for Russia, SputnikNews,18/10/2015)

      – “More missiles are on the way, he [Capt. Mustafa Moarati, anti-Assad Tajamu al-Izza group] said. New supplies arrived after the Russian deployments began, he said, and the rebels’ allies have promised further deliveries soon, bringing echoes of the role played by U.S.-supplied Stinger antiaircraft missiles in forcing the Soviet Union to withdraw from Afghanistan in the 1980s.” The hits also plunged Washington into what amounts to a proxy war of sorts with Moscow, despite Obama’s insistence this month that “we’re not going to make Syria into a proxy war between the United States and Russia.” (Did U.S. weapons supplied to Syrian rebels draw Russia into the conflict?, By Liz Sly, WashingtonPost, October 11, 2015) , etc…….

      It is self evident that until the spigot (facilitating the flow of arms and militants into Syria) is closed, the conflict will continue to be fuelled. As such, if the military phase of operations is to be ended within a reasonable timeframe, it is self evident the situation of a foreign supported active spigot needs to be addressed.

      • Jacek Wolski

        Very well written. Thank you for your insightful information 👍