Syria Defense and Security Part II

By | December 17, 2021

The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra

Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS) are the two main organizations representing the network of al-Qaeda in the Syrian conflict. Their presence, although numerically minority compared to the sum of the forces fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime, has however been a source of growing concern both at regional and international level. The two organizations are partly made up of professional fighters, veterans of different war scenarios such as Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq, and are equipped with autonomous and well-tested funding networks. The Islamic State, in particular, emerged in mid-2014 as a real regional threat thanks to the lightning-fast victories obtained on both the Syrian and Iraqi fronts that ensured control over a huge territory that reaches from northern Syria. at the gates of Baghdad. leadership, refined during the conflict that between 2006 and 2008 opposed Is – which was then called al-Qaida in Iraq (Aqi), led by Abu Musab al-Zarkawi – to the US forces in those years still stationed in Iraq. L ‘ Is he knew it best to use the tactics and training lessons learned from that defeat, taking the opportunity offered by the outbreak of the Syrian conflict. The latter has in fact allowed Isto conquer territories in Syria and then use the strategic depth they offer to launch an overwhelming offensive in Iraqi territory in mid-2014, during which his forces came to occupy Mosul, the country’s second city. The self-proclamation as Caliph by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has effectively launched a direct challenge to traditional leadership of al-Qaida within the panorama of international jihadism. Among the two organizations, on the other hand, Jabhat al-Nusra (full name Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham, Victory Front for the support of the people of the Levant) is certainly the most deeply rooted group within Syrian society. He was born in Syria in January 2012 under the leadership of Abu Mohammad al-Jawlani, a Syrian jihadist previously operating in the IsiIraqi who gathered around him a group of both local and international militants. The group immediately distinguished itself for its military capabilities, thanks to the experience and training of its affiliates. One of the specific traits of al-Nusra was its ability to also attract many Syrians to its ranks, including people who did not identify with the Salafist religious culture. Many new fighters have claimed to have joined because the group would be the only one able to guarantee adequate training and sufficient armaments to effectively fight the regime. The same cannot be said of Is, which has been much less able to be accepted by the local population and which remains composed primarily of foreign fighters. In early 2012, the leader of the then Islamic State in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, claimed that Jabhat al-Nusra was none other than the Syrian branch of his organization. While confirming membership of al-Qaeda, the leadership of al-Nusra had, however, immediately denied that they belonged to the al-Baghdadi organization but only obeyed al-Qaida’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. This is why Baghdadi would have decided to create Isand to start operating also in Syrian territory. Today the relations between the two organizations remain ambiguous. Armed skirmishes were recorded on several fronts while on other occasions – for example during the raids in the Lebanese territory controlled by Hezbollah – the two formations collaborated while remaining distant on loyalties, having the leadership of Al-Nusra repeatedly reiterated their loyalty to al -Qaida and its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.¬†For Syria military, please check

The Chemical Weapons Agreement

The agreement on Syrian chemical arsenal destruction was reached in September 2013 following the Resolution 2118 of the ‘Security Council A. This resolution mandated the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (Opcw) to implement, by June 2014, its plan to identify and destroy the chemical arsenal held by the Syrian regime. The agreement is the result of intense diplomatic work by Russia. In fact, Moscow intended to prevent the US and France from giving concrete execution to the threat to bomb sensitive targets of the Syrian regime following the attack with chemical weapons, which took place in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta and cost the lives of about 1,400 people. This attack represented, according to the American administration, the overcoming of the ‘red line’ set by Barack Obama in 2012 against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The US president had ordered the regime not to resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction for any reason. The authorities in Damascus immediately accused the opposition of having organized the attack to provoke American intervention. Evidence collected by inspectorsOne in the following days, however, would seem to confirm the guilt of the regime. The last shipment of Syrian chemical weapons allegedly was officially destroyed in mid-2014. However, doubts remain as to whether it was really entirely destroyed and that some of it did not end up in the hands of the Islamic State.

The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra