Can al Qaeda tap into Syria rage?
February 14th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

Can al Qaeda tap into Syria rage?

By Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank

Last week, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri added to his ever-growing video collection, with an eight-minute lecture supporting the Syrian opposition against President Bashar al-Assad.

It was the latest example of al-Zawahiri's growing focus on opportunities for al Qaeda amid the upheavals in the Arab world, from Iraq to Egypt to Yemen, Libya and now Syria. The video that appeared on jihadist forums Friday damned Syria's "sectarian, secular regime."

"The brave, jihadi Syrian people rose and will never accept anything less than victory over the criminal butchers," al-Zawahiri said.

His words were clearly designed to graft al Qaeda onto an uprising which has so far shown little association with or affinity for Salafist jihadism. But are his words anything more than bluster and opportunism?

"It remains to be seen whether the message will resonate with the disparate elements of the Syrian opposition," one U.S. official who declined to be identified told CNN. "Nor is there a sense that the Syrian oppositionists want to see Syria heading in the direction of extremism."

Nevertheless hard-line Salafist cells, whether associated with al Qaeda or not, are finding space in the upheavals cross the region.

In particular, the Islamic State of Iraq - al Qaeda's highly-active affiliate there - is well-placed to play a role in neighboring Syria, and may have begun to do so already, according to U.S. officials.

Direct evidence of its involvement is hard to establish, but a U.S. source says the United States has intercepted communications of operatives in Syria belonging to the Iraqi al Qaeda affiliate, also known as al Qaeda in Iraq.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the latest intelligence clearly indicates that small groups of operatives have been "pushed into Syria" by their commanders in Iraq and are able to carry out intelligence and reconnaissance against Syrian targets - and subsequently carry out bombing attacks. Those operatives, the source says, are believed to be part of a network responsible for recent attacks.

Three recent attacks stand out as unlike anything the Free Syrian Army or other opposition groups have been able or even willing to stage. The first was in Damascus in late December, when powerful bombs killed more than 40 people outside two branches of the security forces. The strike carried all the hallmarks of al Qaeda in Iraq: a powerful vehicle-borne bomb driven by a suicide bomber, aimed at a government building. But the group never claimed responsibility.

The next was a January 6 suicide bombing targeting policemen on a bus in Damascus. And the third was Friday in Aleppo, Syria's commercial center and a city that is both vital to the regime's survival and had been little affected by the unrest until then. Syrian officials said 28 people were killed in a double suicide bombing on security service compounds.

Again, the ISI has not claimed responsibility, where in Iraq it usually does proclaim its role in assassinations and bombings. But it's the type of attack that is typical of its operations.

ISI fighters are battle-hardened by their struggle against the more moderate Sunni Awakening Councils in Iraq. They are now posing a growing challenge to Iraqi authorities after the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

In recent years, many would-be ISI fighters from other Arab states passed through Syria on their way to wage jihad in Iraq. In 2008-09, jihadist forums were full of advice about the best route for would-be fighters through Syria, and U.S. military officials regularly complained that Damascus was not doing enough to stop infiltration across its border.

In November, the ISI released a biography of an influential Syrian commander among its ranks who had been killed. One source in the region estimates that several hundred Syrian jihadists have returned home from Iraq.

The ISI would also have the ideological motivation to join the fight in Syria, seeing it as a Sunni struggle to be free of the heterodox Shi'ite rule by Syria's ruling Alawite minority. The ISI and its predecessor have been among the most chauvinistic franchises of al Qaeda, with ISI spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani describing Shiites as an "illness" that could only be remedied with the sword, according to a translation of a January audio posting by the SITE monitoring service.

Other jihadist groups, such as northern Lebanon's Fatah al-Islam, have also called for Assad's overthrow. In a December statement, the group described the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood "as a summer cloud that will pass quickly to open the way for the leadership of the Mujahideen." There is no indication that Fatah al-Islam is actively involved in the Syrian unrest, but individuals associated with it may have helped smuggle arms across the border, according to sources in the region.

The upheaval in Egypt has also provided a space for jihadist groups to emerge, especially in under-governed areas like he Sinai Peninsula. Ansar al-Jihad in the Sinai declared its allegiance to fellow Egyptian al-Zawahiri last month, adding: "We will never quit or surrender until the last drop of our blood [is spilled] in the Cause of Allah and until Islam rules by the help of Allah the Almighty."

Egyptian military intelligence officials have told CNN in recent months they are concerned by the growth of militant cells in the Sinai. Border security has deteriorated, and in August, a jihadist group based in Gaza used Egyptian territory to attack Israeli civilian targets in Negev - killing eight civilians.

Al-Zawahiri has long harbored the dream of creating Islamic rule in his home country of Egypt and the Arab world. He was won round by Osama bin Laden in the 1990s to the need to focus attacks on the United States. But for al-Zawahiri, that was always a means to the end of pressuring the United States to stop supporting regimes like that of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

His ultimate goal has always been to overturn the secular order in the Arab world.

"If the successful operations against Islam's enemies and severe damage inflicted on them do not serve the ultimate goal of establishing the Muslim nation in the heart of the Islamic world, they will be nothing more than disturbing acts," al-Zawahiri wrote in a memoir published just after the 9/11 attacks.

Al-Zawahiri has always stressed the importance of cultivating support the al Qaeda organization on the Arab street and the need to create a base of operations from which al Qaeda could operate and expand its operations. For a while, Iraq seemed the promised land – until a backlash against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's brutal campaign of violence, which al-Zawahiri tried but failed to halt, tarnished the al Qaeda brand.

The first weeks of the Arab Spring provided further bad news for al Qaeda, as it was bypassed by young, urban, pro-democracy protests. A series of videos al-Zawahiri released on Egypt last year mostly fell on deaf ears. While the partial dismantling of security apparatuses in several Arab countries offered the group the ability to rebuild its networks, its potential pool of recruits appeared to be narrowing.

But al-Zawahiri appears to have sensed that political turmoil in Yemen, Libya and, Syria offer al Qaeda an opportunity to gain a foothold - and in some instances, safe havens - across the Arab world. And his call for volunteers to defend Syria's Sunnis appears to be calculated ploy to repair the damaged al Qaeda brand.

In Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Penisula (AQAP) has tried to win support by portraying itself as a defender of Yemenis against a U.S. backed-dictatorship. The group is linked to jihadist fighters who have taken control of swathes of southern Yemen.

Al-Zawahiri's strategic advice appears to have been taken on board by AQAP. In a message pledging support to Zawahiri after the death of bin Laden, AQAP leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi said he was continuing along the plan drawn by him.

As Libya descended into civil war last spring, al-Zawahiri dispatched a senior lieutenant to build up the group's operations in eastern Libya, according to a Libyan source briefed by Western intelligence officials. The al Qaeda operative has now built up a force of over 200 fighters, according to the source.

Clearly the al Qaeda leader senses multiple opportunities across the Arab world by exploiting security vacuums and growing radicalism brought on by economic collapse.

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

soundoff (130 Responses)
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    June 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  2. GG

    USA policy makers made a very big mistake in the past. What the US should have done was support a Kurdish independent state. Instead they looked the other way as Turkish troops invaded Northern Iraq and sided with Syria to keep Kurds in check. If Kurds had received support, the Syrian government would have been destabilized. Furthermore this destabilization of the Syrian government would have definitely meant the removal of the tyrant and minimization of the likelihood of external military intervention.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:07 am | Reply
  3. RCDC

    Let them defuse it. Then enter after all the dingdong is gone.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
  4. Muhammad

    al-qida stay out fo Syria!

    February 15, 2012 at 1:18 am | Reply
  5. cnposter

    This has been largely an Al Qaeda affair from the beginning. It's appalling how we can bomb Libya into the hands of Al Qaeda, then just blithely turn away as that country descends into a sectarian, violent hellhole rivaled only by present-day Iraq. Then, without batting an eye as tens of thousands of black Libyans fall prey to the most horrendous ethnic cleansing currently taking place, turn our efforts to reap yet more destruction, now in Syria, through our support of the very same butchers we empowered in Libya.

    "Can al Qaeda tap into Syria rage?" Is this some kind of joke?

    February 15, 2012 at 1:00 am | Reply
  6. lewtwo

    Islam: The worlds largest organized hate group.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • CIA

      Agree 100 %

      They still call it a peaceful religion.

      But, yet none Muslim protest against wrong doings by another muslim.

      February 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Reply
      • Uevari

        I know Muslims. I am Atheist (raised Christian) and I met about 100 muslims during a school project. They are all nice and welcoming. It is a shame that Islam gets a bad wrap because the Mid East can't get along.

        February 14, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  7. AhhPures

    Look at him. He doesn't even know what finger to hold up.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  8. taskmaster

    Muslims MUST kill. They are taught from birth that all non-muslims who refuse to convert to Islam must die or be enslaved. So if kept within their own borders they will enslave and kill each other. Keep them in their own muslim hate factories.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • Buzzer

      The VAST majority of "killing" that is occuring isn't Muslim on non-Muslim. Only a small fraction is by ideologically/religiously driven terrorists organizations. This is about a struggle for regional/local power and control, being carried out by people who are certainly Arab or Persian, but certainly not motivated by "religious" reasons. If what is said about Islam is true that it is a "peaceful" religion, it would be safe to bet that most of these people carrying out these killings aren't even close to being considered Muslim...they don't even respect their fellow Muslim "brothers" or "sisters" or "children" or "grandparents"...you get the picture.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
      • AhhPures

        It appears sir, that you are the one who does not get the picture.

        February 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
      • Buzzer

        One sentence does not make and effective retort...for your creditability, I suggest that you elaborate your "one-liner" with an actual argument and clearly state the things that I said were inaccurate.

        February 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • Buzzer

        Further...my statements condensed:
        Vast majority of people killed in this conflict are carried out by people who claim to be Muslim on Muslims = FACT

        Only a small percentage of ANY of the killings occuring in Syria have anything to do with religion = FACT

        A "peaceful" religion does not = killing of others and therefore they are NOT true Muslims (people can label themselves alot of things)

        These people are killing innocent women, and children and grandparents indiscriminately and unjustified = FACT.

        Respect for others DOES NOT equal killing them to hold on to power = FACT.

        February 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  9. B17

    Can a world class terrorist organization capitalize on fear in Syria? Another world class stupid media rhetorical question. Fear stokes the furnace of terrorism. It has worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and it will surely work in Syria.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • cnn2012cnn

      Of course they do, if they want 20 more years of what their getting now?

      February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • cnn2012cnn

      if you want to be a so-called retard of terrorism...you need to have that nose picking finger up for pictures..lol, these dopes are a joke......DRONED BIATCH

      February 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • cnn2012cnn

      im not Jewish, but I laugh at these people who are so worried about palestine....If the Muslim world is so worried , than give them land and oil $$$$...way more land and $$ in the arab world than tiny Israel...Or are they just using palestine to bust israeli chops?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Reply
      • Buzzer

        Not ONE Muslim/Arab country in the Middle East gives a CRAP about the Palestinians...examples? Jordan in the 1950s with their treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank while under their supervision, Egypt in the 1980s with the Gaza Strip and the Israelies offering it to Egypt...response? No thanks. You think all the sewer services and electricity lighting up the West Bank comes from Syria or Jordan? No, but from Israel.

        February 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
      • Buzzer

        They use the Palestinian "plight" time and time again as a tool to distract their own people's attention away from their own internal "issues".

        February 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  10. Barry G.

    I often get diiscuoraged by how corrupt our leaders are in the US (and believe me they have allowed themselves to be corrupted by the lobbyiests and wealthy concerns), and then I think that things could be worse. We could have leaders like Assad.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Dana

      Barry G you need to see it's a terrorist stirring up the unrest between the Sunni majority against the Shiite minority. Al Qaeda and it's affiliates are Sunni and they did the same to the Shiite for decades in Iraq. Why all of a sudden the unrest in Syria, AL Qaeda needed another platform to kill from. If we back the overthrow of another country, one that has obvious backing of a terrorist organization what will that make the United States?

      February 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
      • Johnny Pepper

        Let the animals, Sunni and Shia and Arab and Persian and Russian and Chinese, eliminate themselves.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  11. Carl

    Al Qaeda can smell a cesspool from a mile away and they are eager to burrow into it.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  12. Jorge

    I don't understand why people are in support of removing bashar because of a secular govt, come on now the US is promoting terrorism to continue in order the muslim brotherhood to stay in power. They love the idea of al queda since it was breeded through them. They are already wiping out all the christians in the middle east. There is barely any in iraq and we know how iraq is. It will be the same in Syria look at the obvious, why are there christians in lebanon because they fled to syria, thats what i am. Let bashar handle his own problem and let the whole world mind there business, there is alot more filth to worry about than syria

    February 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  13. jACKSON

    Let Israel bomb the Iranians and then use the Iranians own bomb against the rest of these vermin. Take the Paki's out too, because they're the one harboring all this evil. These idiots were killing each other before there even was a thing called Zionist, so blaming it on them is sticking your head in the sand. Religion of Peace my ass.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • Guilherme

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      December 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  14. yup

    Its not nice to point, somebody should teach this old bag that pointing is rood....it must be his wipe finger, he cant get it to go down due to rigamortus, 10 bucks hes a homosexual, maybe they chopped off his wanker as a boy and this is just a mental reaction.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  15. Barry G.

    I don’t see how Assad and his vicious generals can live with themselves.

    I guess when you become so selfish, so self-centered and so arrogant–you start to think you’re a god, and that the feelings and rights of others mean nothing, as long as you live in luxury and pleasure.

    Assad, you and your generals are wicked people, and you can be sure that your reign of terror will come to an end, and you will face judgment.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • zakzuk

      The same way the saudy, kahlifa and althani tyrants can live with themselvis when killing their own population.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
      • Barry G.

        You make a good point, and I agree with you.

        Evil leaders are unacceptable, no matter where they are.

        Unfortunately the rich can use their wealth to obtain power, and far too often they misuse their power and use it selfishly.

        A good leader should take care of their people and put the needs of the people before their own needs, like a good shepherd.

        Evil leaders put their own interests before the interests of the sheep (people). Like evil shepherds, evil leaders steel from the flock, abuse the flock and let the flock (the people) suffer.

        May God judge every evil leader, wherever they are; and, may God bless those leaders who do what is right and good. (Although I'm starting to wonder whether there are any good leaders in the world.)

        February 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Barry G.

        Good point. I agree with you.

        Evil leaders are unacceptable, no matter where they are.

        Unfortunately the rich can use their wealth to obtain power, and far too often they misuse their power and use it selfishly.

        A good leader should take care of their people and put the needs of the people before their own needs, like a good shepherd.

        Evil leaders put their own interests before the interests of the sheep (people). Like evil shepherds, evil leaders steel from the flock, abuse the flock and let the flock (the people) suffer.

        May God judge every evil leader, wherever they are; and, may God bless those leaders who do what is right and good. (Although I'm starting to wonder whether there are any good leaders in the world.)

        February 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • taskmaster

      They can live with theselves because the were raised as muslims.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Reply
      • Esteban

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  16. Barry G.

    It seems that Al-Qaeda’s mission is:

    1. maintain their cruel tyrannical control over women, children and the poor;
    2. keep everyone ignorant, in order to maintain power, dominance and control;
    3. blame all problems on Israel, the West and the U.S.;
    4. and maintain the primitive living standards known since the third millenium BCE.

    It also seems that they’re content to poison the world with their multi-billion dollar opium (heroin) trafficking trade and imposing their misguided brand of religion on the world.

    Oh, and along with their abysmal record on human rights, they also have some of the most corrupt governance in the world.

    Is it any wonder they resist and resent interlopers!

    Here’s a better alternative: justice, compassion, wisdom, freedom, democracy, mercy, love, humility. Try it!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Reply
    • cnn2012cnn

      al queda is trying to be relevant....these old fools know they are done....they have like 10 members left...all the rest are dead, and they soon will be dead...

      February 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  17. MeidanRoad

    Why is it that every time a problem or trouble occurs in a middle eastern country the same question is asked: Can Al qaada tap in or take over etc? Is this the Wests only excuse to intervene where it shouldn't ? Find another excuse this one got old a long time ago.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  18. LV

    Let's just leave the ME alone. Send a FAX. Keep sending oil, we'll buy it.

    If you attack us, we will just send drones next time. No troops. No rebuilding. Just rubble.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  19. 911 jew job

    jewishcrimenetworkdid911 . blogspot . com

    w w w . defense . gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2806 wolfowitz( jew) said that 9-11 was an opportunity – like it was a good event.

    In september 2000 Paul Wolfowitz( jew..) wrote in the PNAC-document that we needed a catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a New Pearl Harbor.

    w w w . defense . gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2806

    people dont fall for kykes "al chai da" bs invention to cover up 911 jew job

    February 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • toadears

      Excuse me ..zzzzz. Even David Icke and Alex Jones say this is a worldwide conspiracy, the Illuminati is international, none of them care about governments or religion, and the primary objective is Satanism. And both those guys have networks and are getting rich saying it. What are you getting besides high blood pressure and a mild case of hydrophobia?

      February 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
      • 911 jew job

        why you kykes whining is defense. com lying too? stfuu jew pest

        February 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • taskmaster

      On 9/11 there were NO jews dancing in the streets and passing out candy. Only sheet head camal jockeys.You pathetic followers of mo HAM ed are so cowardly you blame Jews for every BLACK deed that YOU do.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
    • taskmaster

      I am not a jew. Just an american who has seen the EVIL of Islam .The religion of lies hate and murder.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply
    • Robert

      Oh, yeah. The Joos did it. Shut up you Iranian Paid Stooge.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  20. ReBemol

    This article does not mention that Al-Zawahiri was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and that this is not the first time that Al-Zawahiri has issued a Jihadi video message to his armed rebel brothers in Syria since the beginning of the conflict ... He issued a similar video message back in July last year ... Here's the link (replace "DOT" with "." ):

    http://wwwDOTguardianDOTcoDOTuk/world/2011/jul/28/al-qaida-zawahri-syria

    February 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • toadears

      Isn't it amazing that it's almost always old white guys who cause all the trouble? I mean, look at Father Time up there in the picture. Why do people listen to a creature like that?

      February 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
      • Meluckycharms

        Are you saying we should be listening to Young Black Women?

        February 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  21. enkephalin07

    Everyone knows the kind of chaos Al Qaeda willl perpetuate if they're let in the door. I doubt many Syrians would invite that, but a fair number might find it a good deal just to crush Assad right now. But is Al Qaeda capable of that? Or would they just whip up the jihad for the sake of jihad they can't get enough of, while the rest of the world withdraws support and keeps a clean distance from the mess it'll turn into?

    February 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  22. PullMyFinger

    Looks like he's saying, "Someone please pull my finger before the gas pressure builds up under my rag."

    February 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • toadears

      If you pull, I'd wear rubber gloves. No tellin' where's it's been.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  23. Adnan Khan

    Al Qaeda in Syria would be much worse than what is happening there now. The Arab League needs to intervene.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • ArabLeagueIsAJoke

      The Arab League is a joke.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • zakzuk

      you r absoultly correct and the one who will let them in are the US and Saudi Arabia and guess what isgoing to happen. We should not forget to ask the Iraqies about their experence on this issue.?????!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • zakzuk

      The arab League is a pupet of the US and a very bad joke that makes someone vomit.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Heriansyah

      kai Posted on Jo, I'm with you. It's so easy to go back to taking a dip in the fear pool. I frgiue the more we practice the better we'll get at avoiding that pool. Love that your mother shared shifting the energy with you one superCHICK handing down superpowers to the next generation of superCHICK. Awesome!

      August 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  24. LV

    Well, we did help the MB in Eqypt. Why not just help all insane groups to overthrow other insane groups?

    Sure, let's get right on that.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  25. yup

    Again with Dam finger...it looks like he is saying....now bend over so I can check your prostate,,,,,,also looks like a perv that will sniff it later.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  26. richard

    The Arab League, and Arabs, and Muslims in general are cowards. The enjoy killing each other as their pastime. Maybe al Queda will focus their sights on China and Russia, as they are the true enemy of Islam, not the US, Israel, nor the West.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • LV

      Not quite. Try 12th century people with oil money.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  27. Peter

    Huh? This article is too late. They alraedy tap into Libya's rage and mixed with many factions of the NTC in Libya.
    Perhaps some enlightment in this article?

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NB14Ak01.html

    February 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
    • Kimberly

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      August 3, 2012 at 12:36 am | Reply
  28. toadears

    What is it with these guys and that one finger routine? I bet that finger smells pretty badly.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  29. Logic

    You really think, in order to be rid of one of the most despised regimes in the world, they would turn to the most reviled terrorist organization in the world? Wow, the world really hates our government as do we, let's throw in with an organization the world possibly hates even more...

    February 14, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • impondering

      I'm not confirming one way or the other whether what Al-Qaida said was true. I'm just pointing out that since Al-Qaida did make the claim, the US has to announce that it believes them or not. If the US questions this press release, then it needs to question the other Al-Qaida releases which undermines the entire war on terror in other countries. If the US doesn't, then its bound by US law not to get involved and to sanction any other countries that do. I didn't pass the laws. I'm just pointing out that they exist and if they're going to be enforced, the US has been boxed into inaction by throwing sanctions around willy-nilly.

      February 14, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
  30. impondering

    I'm surprised there is not more analysis on the wrench Al-Qaida threw into the plans of all these countries including the US when Al-Qaida announced they are supporting the Syrian opposition. Al-Qaida is a designated FTO. This subjects anyone who provides "material support or resources" to Al-Qaida and, now presumably the Al-Qaida backed Syrian opposition, to severe penalties.

    The Syrian govt. is a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism pursuant to section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Thus, there are sanctions against Syria including restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance. The NDAA, signed into law 12/31/11, subjects anyone to military detention who is a part of or substantially supports Al-Qaida ... or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This would presumably include any US or foreign operatives who are sent into Syria to aid the Al-Qaida backed opposition.

    In light of the above, if the US can't legally aid the Syrian government and can't aid an Al-Qaida backed opposition and anyone who does is subject to sanctions and possible military detention, did Al-Qaida just tie the foreign countries' hands, in effect telling them to stay out of the conflict by picking a side themselves? An interesting question that the Sec. of State should answer.

    February 14, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • toadears

      Good point and what a mess we make with too much legislation. As for me, I think we should stay out and let the Shi'ites and Sunnis work this one out. The Arab league, the Saudis and other so-called Islamic countries should handle this one. They hate us anyway. They'll be burning our flags whether we get involved or stay out of it, so I say stay out of it.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Copa

      kai Posted on Stephanie, I love it! Magical things haeppn when we get rid of stuff serving us no purpose. You're making space for brilliance I can already feel it. Thanks so much for sharing your act of fearlessness and welcome to the CHICK community. ★ Rock on! ★

      August 3, 2012 at 3:06 am | Reply
  31. Tom

    Al Qaeda is struggling to be relevant. No one is talking about them. Not even in thier homelands. The truth is out: all they have to offer is pointless death and suffering. They have already lost the future. They can however still kill – and they will.

    February 14, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • toadears

      Yes, they are basically obsolete, even to the Islamic radicals. It's the Muslim Brotherhood we need to keep an eye on.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  32. dreamer96

    Al-Qaeda has not attacked the Russian people or the Chinese people and for a good reason...they would wipe them all out quickly by any means they have available.....Anyone thinking about joining Al-Qaeda might think about that and what's going to happen when they do make that mistake..which they will...

    February 14, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  33. Epidi

    Of course they can tap it – that's what thier agenda is based on. Rage & hate.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
  34. citizenUSA

    Smart. Go from a brutal regime to a brutal cult of religious fanatics.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • angel611

      Like if the US elects either Republican candidate for President?
      LOL

      February 14, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  35. angel611

    The US had Al Qaida cells living here for years and they did bombings, sniper killings, sabatoge, and then the 9/11 attacks. I suspect they are still doing things here to kill people.
    We currently have Al Qaida cells in the US that are being watched, and we have Americans that are linked to Al Qaida.
    So my question is this regarding Al Qaida and Syria:
    SO, WHAT?
    They are everywhere and trying to take over every country on the planet.
    Going to have to come up with a better reason than that to get the US into another Middle East expedition war.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • zakzuk

      Get rid of the saudys and the gulf shaiks and the US will be in good terms with the rest of the Moslems. We still need them.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  36. Get your carpet ready

    Get ready for the magic carpet ride straight to Virgin City! EXCELLENT! We can only hope that Al-Qaeda gets involved. "God Willing" there will be complete destruction of that area with many, many deaths. As long as it is extremist Muslim on extremist Muslim violence, and over there, NOT here...God is good. *Raising my glass* and toasting "here's to a long drawn-out war in the region...and may the extremist death poll and martyr list be extremely high in the name of Allah". –"Clink"–

    February 14, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • angel611

      Nice thought, but Syria has oil and you know what that means.
      America takes orders from the Oil Companies.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
      • John

        not much oil

        February 14, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  37. G

    Dear Cartoon News Network, Al-Qaeda news was reported by other foreign channel THREE days ago. Can you pick up the pace a little?

    February 14, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
  38. Bobby

    What a pathetic, worthless piece of $h!t...nothing he spends any time doing has any purpose or value whatsoever....he one of the stupidest human beings to ever walk to the face of the earth. Ya nice crappy old AK....d0uche.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • angel611

      Allah's avenging Angel of Death will visit him soon for his sins and blaspheme, and it ain't gonna be pretty.
      Rest easy.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
  39. Jason - Colorado

    But look who Zawahiri is calling on to rise up...Muslims in LEBANON (i.e. Shiite majority Hizb Allah). The theory that AQ wants to overthrow a Shiite regime in Assad doesn't necessarily hold water. Why would Zawahiri call on Shiite Muslims to overthrow a Shiite regime in Syria? Perhaps there may be more of an Iranian footprint on this than first thought. The Ayatollahs are afraid that they could lose Syria (more or less a puppet regime to Iranian influence in the region) to a democratic secular (or God forbid) pro-western government. IRan holds influence over AQ in the form of the many major terrorist financiers and operatives that the Islamic Republic allows to 'operate' within its borders. Iran wants to ensure that the Free Syrian Army doesnt gain a foothold and that the pro-democratic government doesnt take hold. The ayatollahs would lose too much influence in the region if that were to happen. They want a Hizb Allah controlled regime in place. One that they can control, and one that they can use to their advantage in the region in the struggle for dominance against the House of al-Saud. So, they pull strings, they influence AQ to make the call for Lebanese Muslims to rise up. The Islamic Republic funnels money, supplies, and guns to their proxy in Lebanon, who then moves to take control of the syrian state....
    Conspiracy theory? maybe, but it makes sense as to why Zawahiri would call on shiite Muslims to rise up.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • toadears

      al-Assad is getting money from somewhere. Since he is BFF with the guy in Iran, I'm betting that's his bank roll. The Saudis despise Iran so they're not backing him. The Arab League in Egypt has condemned him. That leaves Iran and Libya. Russia's second largest seaport is in Syria, so they're staying. China holds Syria as their 7th or 8th largest consumer of military grade weapons, so they are backing both sides with weapons and they're staying. It's a real OK Corral showdown between America, allies, Saudis vs. Russia and China. Shi'ites seem to suck pretty badly so I wouldn't take this guy at his word at all. Since Egypt condemned him, I am thinking the Muslim Brotherhood will stay home. It's all gonna come down to what the Saudis want, I think.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
      • Jason - Colorado

        Iran is hedging its bets. They can't afford to lose Assad either way. He is their puppet in Syria. So, they can play it a number of ways. They can funnel him some money and say, 'we are with you...' or they can remove a 'secular' government and install a PRO-Shiite, PRO-Iranian, ANTI-Saudi government into Syria through the use of Hizb Allah. They are using AQ as a means to foment strife in the region. They want the all-out war in the region and are trying to spread it beyond there as well. Remember that the Mahdi is coming this year according to Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei. So, they need the all-out war to bring about his arrival. AQ is serving a purpose for the Iranian regime. They know that AQ involved in Syria would mean that more sectarian violence would come about. Sectarian violence creates this environment of chaos that would easily be capitalized upon by Iran and by Hizb Allah. The Ayatollahs know that their proxy (i.e. Hizb Allah) is ready to march into Syria and put Nasrallah into power if they say 'go.'
        Hell, even the Saudis are getting involved in the situation because they can see the power play that Iran is making. Someone here posted and interesting article that states that Wahhabis are forming enmasse on the border of Syria. That's Saudi.

        February 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  40. Texas

    1. Remove rag from head
    2. Insert in mouth

    February 14, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • das272

      lol good one

      February 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  41. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/truth-crushed-to-earth-shall-rise/

    February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • Bobby

      I am dumber after watching that video.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • Bobby

      They lost me when one of the "engineers" stated...."an office fire does not get hot enough to melt steel" WRONG...steel looses its tensile strength at under 1200 deg. I have seen MANY fires in wood structures where the wood beams burned are still able to carry their load and whereever a steel beam exists it is bowed 6, 8, 10 inches. The fires from the fuel on those planes caused the interior floor steel barjoists to fail...super loading the floor below...it ain't rocket science.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
  42. Emmy Skaddittle

    we would be on al Qaeda's side in this? wow

    February 14, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
    • Tr1Xen

      It's easy to understand why al-Qaeda would support the uprising. The Ba'ath Party is secular whereas al-Qaeda promotes Islamic fundamentalism. It's the same reason al-Qaeda didn't like Saddam Hussein (actually, "didn't like" is probably the understatement of the year...lol).

      February 14, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Marcia

      Melanie Posted on Just watched all the epeidoss in a row. Love the story, the cinematography, the stop-motion. You go, Kai. Congratulations again. Can't wait to see what happens to Fantastica next. And congrats on the directing award.

      August 3, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
  43. mikrik13

    If al Qaeda wishes to be a world leader it will have to learn to take on these difficult challenges. I would think al Qaeda would be more likely to side with President Bashar al-Assad than side with the people of Syria.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:38 am | Reply
  44. Tony

    What is going in syria is not based on religion. The syrian people want to get rid of a dictatorship that has ruled and oppressed syrians for more than 40 years. The syrian goverment is basically AL ASSAD family and their thugs who are defending them and financially benifeting from them at the expense of the whole society in syria. Assad regime is trying to scare minorities and others by Al Qiada. Al Qaida is a scare scrow modle used by Bush and the west to sway public openion and give reason to the public why the west is acting the was they are. Syria does not need this ugly man Alzawahiri..syrian people will be able to get rid of Assad regime in the long run we donot also need the charity of a kinian born president whoes name is Obama...

    February 14, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
  45. FrontalLobotomy

    Is that spot on his head the insertion point of his frontal lobotomy?

    February 14, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  46. Hahahahahahaha

    Al Kinda can't tap Syrian rage but they sure know how to tap their sheep!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha

    February 14, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  47. toppgunnery

    just what does it take to keep the communists working at CNN from deleting decent posts???

    February 14, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • Bobby

      writting one

      February 14, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  48. toppgunnery

    If old bull's eye turbin head schmo gets his two cents in, we will be having another 9-12 here on tha double!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply
  49. ReBemol

    So the armed rebels are getting support from their Al-Qaeda brothers, their Wahhabi Saudi and Qatari brothers, their Salafi brothers in Lebanon, and their Libyan Transitional National Council brothers … The FSA has 30 some battalions all named using Islamic figures from the early days of Islam and none named by a patriotic Syrian figure as it should the case since Syria’s population are not all Muslims … Anybody still has a doubt that :

    Armed Rebels = Muslim Brothers + Wahhabis + Al-Qaeda members + Salafis = breed of hateful Jihadi Islamists whose doctrine is based on eliminating the ones that don’t agree with them

    These armed rebels have hijacked the early peaceful protests and the democratic reforms … They are not after democracy and freedom … They are after revenge and establishing an extreme Islamist state in Syria … For those of you who want to support them, go and fight with your Al-Qaeda brothers, otherwise just wake up and smell the coffee … If you support these guys, you are supporting Al-Qaeda.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:21 am | Reply
  50. rad666

    "Twitter found one such buyer recently: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who announced in December that he had acquired a $300 million stake in Twitter." -- Why didn't he spend that money to help in Syria? Oh, Arab League wants America to spend taxpayer money to resolve the Syrian issue.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
    • melvinslizard

      Syria doesn't exactly see Saudi Arabia as an ally. Don't oversimplify just because it's easier for you...

      February 14, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
  51. Portland tony

    I'm afraid that after all these US endorsed "Democratic" revolutions are over in the middle east, the west will be facing just as many totalitarian regimes as before. Only the governments will be more sectarian in nature, less tolerant, and possibly more antagonistic toward our goals and foreign policy. Some nations,that consist of tribal loyalties and religious sects need a Strongman in charge to keep the nation as one. Democratic institutions would in time flourish, but too much too soon as we have seen in Iraq and Egypt has led to chaos. Just be careful what you wish for!

    February 14, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply
  52. Wonderfool

    The question should be "will the Syrians liberation fighters accept Al Quada support" and not "will Al Quada tap into Syria rage?" If Al Quada steps in and the Syrian Rebels accept them, the failure will be of the democracy touting and do nothing impotent west. We know why Russia and China won't go against Iraq – one has close business ties with the Syrian regime and do not want to lose it and the other is still a dictatorship and does not want to be any part of supporting a revolution against a dictatorship. If we want to keep Syria democratic, the West, US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, India, South Africa, Brazil and ...must act Multi-laterally – the heck with the commies and the Ruskies. We should act and not just masterxxxx and moan. The UN has been a failure ever since it gave veto power to two colonial, one communist dictator and one almost dictator country and is impotent to take any action. Hillary can wail but Obama will, you know what, nothing.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
  53. us1776

    al-Qaeda is dead and nearly bankrupt.

    What's left of al-Qaeda is now trying to join other groups.

    And some are trying to tag along with Arab Spring uprisings.

    Popular uprisings have accomplished more change than all the terrorism over
    the past 30 years.

    Terrorism is dead as a vehicle for change.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • Angelok

      What I ment to say is If there are no points for rcniag, whats the point of rcniag every weekend? I thought that the point races was designed to bring the racers back every weekend and help the track with more entry fees. Without something drawing you to the track every weekend its open leaves more time for a person to do other things he or she could or should do on the weekends. I will be out there every chance I get. Its an outstanding experience with great people rcniag and officiating the track.Thanks Wade

      August 1, 2012 at 12:47 am | Reply
  54. Bob A D

    If your children are being killed you would grab anything to defend them. If you didn't your not worth your own life.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
    • s767

      Best comment here...... and spot on!

      February 14, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
  55. John N Florida

    "More recently, an army of Wahhabi fighters armed and funded by Qatar has reportedly amassed on the Turkish-Syrian border with the intent of removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, presumably with the objective of importing Wahhabi Islam to a post-Assad Syria."

    http://www.stonegateinstitute.org/2833/qatar-financing-wahhabi-islam-europe

    February 14, 2012 at 8:25 am | Reply
  56. Taher saam

    Believe me AL
    Q aeda is way better than IRAN for the whole region and the world.!!

    February 14, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • Wonderfool

      I also believe in God and the ghost and the holy spirit and ...of course Al Queda. They are all good for a prayer and fear and otherwise good for nothing.

      February 14, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
  57. mipolitic

    no NO ! this is no longer al qaeda , this is a few rag tag mis fits that as been crushed , and this guy is the only voice of the failed cause. the name of the group is really the biggest part of this fractured gaggle dead beats. these idiots spend more time saying bye bye to their other nit wits that have met their end at the hand of some american hundreds of miles away. its over for these crash test dumbies.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:56 am | Reply
  58. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/interior-attack/

    February 14, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply
  59. I HATE zionists

    I say, let's just get it over with and have WW3. Only then will people see the zionists for what they are. Only then, after billions of people are nuked, will we learn that the zionists are not our friends and the sole reason for all this hate in the world. Until, then enjoy the monkey show.

    Stay dumb and dumber, the zionists like you that way. Hey, look at my thumb, gee, you're dumb.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:43 am | Reply
  60. JayW

    It appears only you and a very small minority hate the Jews,there sunshine. To be honest...its people like you that hate others for their religion that need to be exterminated post haste. It's your strict religious dogma that drives you to want to kill others bc of their faith. First the Jews.....then the Christians....and then anyone that doesn't agree w you. Id be more than happy to see you on the front lines of a religious war....bc you'll be the first to go.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  61. jj

    Adolph was an anti-semite...that's the company your in.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply
  62. Wonderfool

    I am not a Jew and I do not agree with establishing a jewish state that excludes the residents of the region. This was done by the colonial powers and that has made Israel a "colonial" state. On the other hand, unlike Muslims and Christians, Jews do not try to convert any one to Judaism and conduct wars and terrorism in the name of God. If yuo are a Muslim, it looks like you hate anyone and everyone who is not a Muslim. That includes not only Jews but also Christians, Hindus, Communists, Buddhists, Shitoists, and so on. How do I know? I am a Hindu and I have seen both peace loving Muslims and hateful Muslims. It is not the religion or faith, it is the intolerant like you who are the real terrorists.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:57 am | Reply
  63. rick

    oooooooooooo zionists oooooooo i'm scared of zionists..........oooooooooo arabs killing arabs, muslims killing muslims..................oooooooooo zionists..........oooooooooooo

    February 14, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
  64. fred

    your brains are in your thumb? and your thumb is up your ass? figures

    February 14, 2012 at 9:12 am | Reply
  65. melvinslizard

    " zionists are ... the sole reason for all this hate in the world"
    Dumbest post of the week. You honestly think that if there were no more "Zionists" that the Muslim Murderers would suddenly accept those remaining? If the Zionists were all gone, how would you explain their continued anger and violence? The current government of Syria isn't Zionist, you know. Silly post by someone preoccupied with their own HATRED.

    February 14, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
  66. melvinslizard

    " zionists are ... the sole reason for all this hate in the world"
    Dumbest post of the week. You honestly think that if there were no more "Zionists" that the Muslim Murderers would suddenly accept those remaining? If the Zionists were all gone, how would you explain their continued anger and violence? The current government of Syria isn't Zionist, you know. Silly post by someone preoccupied with their own HATRED.

    February 14, 2012 at 11:27 am | Reply

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