The conflict in Syria has opened up a new front for Al-Qaeda terrorists to fight against one of their old foes, namely the ruling Baath Party in Syria.
Over the years, Al-Qaeda has been busy killing innocent people in Iraq and destroying the country’s infrastructure and has declared that the Shia-dominated government is one of its archenemies.
In the past, Al-Qaeda terrorists used to infiltrate into Iraq from the Syrian side of the border. Now, they have reversed direction, and very many extremists based in Iraq are crossing the border to carry out terrorist acts in Syria.
The presence of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria has helped the organization regroup and show that it is still active, after it was assumed to have faded away when its charismatic leader, Osama bin Laden, was killed by the United States in an operation in Pakistan. It has also enabled Al-Qaeda to restore its reputation as a determined group fighting against what it calls cruel and arrogant governments.
Some Arab governments in the region are also supporting Al-Qaeda and its operations in Syria, as they did during the years of war in Iraq and many years before in Afghanistan. Observers believe that the main reason these countries are supporting Al-Qaeda is to undermine Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East. During the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan, the same policy was followed by certain regional governments, and extremists were exported to the country to fight against Soviet troops. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan proved that these extremists can sometimes be of great help in countering the rising influence of other powers in the region.
Some Arab governments, which are extremely worried about the devastating effects of extremist ideas in their own countries, continue to export terrorism to other countries. Now the same scenario is unfolding in Syria, and Iran is the main target this time.
Seyyed Abdolamir Nabavi is an expert on Arab and Middle Eastern politics based in Tehran.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader