Nusra Front's quest for heaven makes hell on earth

Nusra Front's quest for heaven makes hell on earth
The Syrian opposition must not mistake the Nusra Front for an ally. Nusra, like all those who fight to impose shariah law and establish a caliphate, are not interested in opposing tyranny or freedom and democracy.
4 min read
28 Dec, 2014
Those who fight for their caliphate are not interested in fighting tyranny (AFP)

For weeks, opposition fighters in the south of Syria had been notching up a series of victories against regime forces, reaching the border of the governorate of Rif Dimashq.

From there, it was hoped that they would be able to lift the siege of the eastern and western countryside of Damascus imposed by Syrian government forces. However, a few

     Al-Nusra fights for heaven. Not freedom and democracy

weeks ago the advance stopped. There was no clear reason.

Then a few days ago, the Nusra Front attacked al-Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a part of the Free Syrian Army that operates in the south of Syria. Opposition forces now fought opposition forces. 

Why? Previously, the Nusra front had attempted to impose its own version of a caliphate on the southern city of Nawa, in Daraa governorate, causing frictions with Free Syrian Army fighters in the city.

In other words, al-Nusra seems to be trying to replicate what it has done in the north of Syria - imposing its authority and its "laws" or sharia, and then launching attacks on other armed factions.

Its own war

Since Nusra's appearance in Hauran, southwestern Syria, the group has been linked with the kidnapping of a number of Druze residents who live in the area. When opposition factions advanced to take Quneitra, Nusra fighters kidnapped UN peacekeeper forces.

In both cases, other opposition fighters did not properly analyze the reason behind Nusra's actions. Cooperation with the group continued despite the fact that thegroup had detained and killed a number of armed opposition leaders.

Perhaps the armed opposition factions thought they would be able to rein in Nusra. They failed to see that the all-Qaeda outfit wanted to create a sectarian crisis in the area by targeting Druze, and wanted the international powers to support the Syrian regime when it kidnapped the UN peacekeepers.

Although it appears that neither goal was achieved , it should be clear to the opposition by now that Nusra has its own agenda. It will betray the opposition just as it did in the north, before the Islamic State group (IS, formerly ISIS) arrived on the scene.

The armed opposition groups do not seem to understand the nature of Nusra, or, for that matter, the IS group and Jaish al-Islam . Nusra is treated as an organisation from within the Syrian revolution that is prone to error.

It is more serious than that. These groups do not understand politics. They instead follow Islamic law of the Wahhabi variety. They do not believe they should engage in a political struggle against the regime. They consider their duty to be the establishment of a caliphate.

Here, Nusra is just like the Islamic State group. Nusra established a caliphate in Aleppo before Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's organisation managed to impose its. Their battle is not against tyranny or for liberation from a dictatorial regime. Those terms do not exist in the legal lexicon they follow.

Sharia above all

Nusra wants to impose the Wahabi interpretation of sharia, which relies on the strict and literal interpretations of religion, believing that its historic duty is to impose these laws.

I believe that Nusra, like the IS group, is deeply compromised and is infiltrated by security agencies, specifically the Syrian regime. After all, Damascus released many of its current members from prison a year into the revolution.

But I also see that the group is working towards the establishment of an Islamic emirate due to the ideological indoctrination of its members and the imposition of their strict intepretatiion of Islamic law on everyone.

For Nusra, this is a higher priority than fighting the regime. Al-Qaeda's priority during the Iraq war, for isntance, was to fight the Shia in Iraq instead of the occupation forces.

Duped by friends

What does this mean? It means that Nusra is a ticking time bomb wherever it may be.

The group will turn its guns against the opposition factions in order to impose its caliphate, because that is the price of heaven. This is exactly why they can be easily manipulated by security agencies and utilised to benefit the regime or imperialism.

The tragedy of the opposition is that it is ignorant. The problem of the young fighters is that they have not learned from previous experiences in Afghanistan, then Iraq, then the north of Syria.

There cannot be a real struggle against the regime in any area where al-Nusra exists, and the same goes for the IS group or any other outfit that wants to implement sharia.

Those people fight for "heaven". Not freedom and democracy.    

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.