The U.S. State Department designated the Jabhat al-Nusra militia fighting Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria a foreign terrorist organization on Monday.
The speed with which the U.S. government moved to designate a fairly new group that has never attacked U.S. interests and is engaged in fighting a regime that successive administrations have demonized is evidence of the strange bedfellows and overlapping agendas that make the Syrian civil war so explosive, Dan Murphy wrote in an article that appeared in the online edition of the Christian Science Monitor on December 11.
The State Department says Jabhat al-Nusra (or the "Nusra Front") is essentially a wing of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the group that flourished in Anbar Province after the U.S. invaded to topple the Baathist regime of dictator Saddam Hussein. During the Iraq war, Sunni Arab tribesmen living along the Euphrates in eastern Syria flocked to fight with the friends and relatives in the towns along the Euphrates River in Anbar Province.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.
Western states have been calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. However, Russia and China are strongly opposed to the Western drive to oust Assad.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals, mostly from Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.
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