How al Qaeda can grow in Syria
July 25th, 2012
09:48 PM ET

How al Qaeda can grow in Syria

By Jill Dougherty, reporting from Aspen, Colorado

U.S. officials and experts on Al Qaeda agree that al Qaeda has a presence among the opposition in Syria.  But how strong are they?  How deeply do they influencet the opposition?

At the Aspen Security Forum all you have to do to find an opinion on that is stand under the aspen trees and wait for an expert to saunter by.

RECOMMENDED:  Our coverage of the 2012 Aspen Security Forum

I button-holed Richard Barrett, coordinator of a New-York-based team appointed to advise the Security Council on the effective development and implementation of sanctions aimed at al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“There’s no doubt at all that some of the people who refer to themselves as al Qaeda from Iraq have gone into Syria. I think that’s absolutely without doubt," Barrett tells me.  

“The question really is – are those people linked up with the Free Syrian Army and other oppositionists, other rebels? And that, I think is much more doubtful,"  he says.  "I think the Free Syrian Army and the main bulk of the rebels in Syria are still very much opposed to allowing al Qaeda a proper foothold.”

"I don’t think al Qaeda has any natural constituency in Syria.  And I think it became incredibly unpopular in Iraq for promoting this sort of sectarian conflict which I think is the last thing the Syrians want."

But that resistance won't last forever, Barrett warns.

"But, of course, if it moves toward that, with Allawites and Christians and whatever on one side and Sunnis on the other side, then al Qaeda will find a lot of people to exploit, I’m sure, and will be able to build that.”

Security Clearance: Your source for national security news and analysis

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Towel Heads

    Let the Towel Heads take over. THAT's how!

    July 26, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply
  2. Aaron Chaney

    DEIR HEZZOR, (SANA)_At the forefront of the Syrian armed forces offensive termed Confront, contain and extinguish, all terrorists are quantified based on internal security reports and special reconnaissance that works in conjunction with a community effort being engaged throughout the whole of the nation. As outlined by a defense ministry spokesman, "The citizens of Syria wholeheartedly support this round them up directive since many of them report being threatened with violence if they refuse to accede to the demands of seditionists. Our CCE policy is a viable and necessary approach to establish order by contending with any individual or group of individuals who are deluded – for whatever reason, into believing that a nation can be hijacked and seized by engaging in organized terrorism."

    July 26, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
  3. Johnny J

    Sure, Al Qaeda is growing in all these countries. That's because we're putting them there. Syria didn't have all these problems until they became a target by our leaders. Suddenly there's terrorism, mass killing of innocent people, it just doesn't end. Every country we touch, there's blood on our hands. No democracy is being spread, just horror.

    July 26, 2012 at 7:09 am | Reply
    • Mahdi

      Al-Qaeda and other terrorist group all around the world are considered as a cancer or life threatening viruses,the treatment of them has it's own price.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:26 am | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Thank you, Johnny J. I couldn't have said it better! Yes, the U.S. is doing far more harm than good around the world with it's idiotic interventionist policies we have. This tells me that isolationism is a very good idea whose time has not only come, but is long overdue!!!

      July 26, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
  4. Mahdi

    People say believe half of what u see and none what u hear. In 2006 The Hezbollah guerillas gained entry into a futile game planned by Mullas of Iran, the end of which was nothing except for hundreds of innocent victims run away from their homeland; so many infrasructures ruined not reconstruced so far.

    July 26, 2012 at 6:21 am | Reply
    • scribebaby

      I'm pretty sure the real Mahdi wouldn't waste time posting comments to online message boards.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:40 am | Reply
  5. basbusa

    basbusa is tasty

    July 26, 2012 at 5:06 am | Reply
    • Adam from Atlanta

      Im just hoping for a Ghadaffi repeat when it comes to Bashar al-Assad. It would be gratifying for me, as an American, that 200+ years after we whooped King George back to Britain, we are still taking apart his kind (illegitimate dictators that murder their own people in mass). I love when we play friends with them, only for them to realize that they are only our temporary pons. i.e. Saddam Hussain.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:45 am | Reply
      • basbusa

        what has that to do with basbusa?

        July 26, 2012 at 6:46 am |
  6. kita

    Wow this piece is horrible. I could have written a better one. Every other sentence is I think… Well thanks for giving away a how to guide moron. Btw sentences shouldn't begin with AND.

    July 26, 2012 at 4:19 am | Reply
    • kita

      Look at the last quote. Lmao that's a hell of a run-on sentence and and and and and. Who hired this clown?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:24 am | Reply
  7. Bubba

    I'll see you in hell Assad, the rebels are going to kill you in the streets like Gadhaffi .

    July 26, 2012 at 3:29 am | Reply
    • Joe Joe

      Why are you going to hell, oh well say hello to him for me.......

      July 26, 2012 at 4:23 am | Reply
  8. tylenol666

    this article is so amazing,, same person who wrote this wrote how the kkk can grow in anerica,, how the Jews can grow in Palestine,, heck how the finshen can grow in Ireland,,, playa Pleeezeee

    July 26, 2012 at 3:07 am | Reply
  9. sam

    fellow citizens, I dont know what alqaeda is and what it has to do with syria but let me clearify , if it appears in Syria the birthplace of alqaeda can be easily tracked and it will be no where but within the house looking white..

    July 26, 2012 at 3:00 am | Reply
  10. Name*john ruchie

    Hopefully i hope the people will not suffer to much! And i hope Israel leaves iran alone because Israel is going to be flatted this time! It not going to be the 67 or 73 where Israel threatened nuc war or where Israel INVADA Lebanon in1982! It be like 2006 where they lost tanks and more this time!

    July 26, 2012 at 12:18 am | Reply
    • Mahdi

      Mahdi

      People say believe half of what u see and none what u hear. In 2006 The Hezbollah guerillas gained entry into a futile game planned by Mullas of Iran, the end of which was nothing except for hundreds of innocent victims run away from their homeland; so many infrasructures ruined not reconstruced so far.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:16 am | Reply

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