Al-Qaeda attempting to hijack Syrian revolution
Syria drawing Sunni extremists, including those under Al-Qaeda banner
The al-Qaeda terrorist network, in addition to other Islamic extremist
groups is trying to hijack the Syrian revolution. American intelligence
officials are publicly concerned with nearby Iraqi officials openly
alarmed. These groups have had very limited success so far, but that
could change in the highly volatile backdrop of Syria's civil war.
Suicide bombing, a favorite of terrorist network al-Qaeda, has become increasingly frequent in the Syrian conflict.
Evidence is also mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al-Qaeda.
Jihadists in Syria have grown recently in part due to the convergence with the sectarian tensions across the country's long border in Iraq. In an audio statement, al-Qaeda has just made an undisguised bid to link its insurgency in Iraq with the revolution in Syria, depicting both as sectarian conflicts - Sunnis versus Shiites.
Extremists operating in Syria are in many cases the very same militants striking across their country, Iraqi officials say. "We are 100 percent sure from security coordination with Syrian authorities that the wanted names that we have are the same wanted names that the Syrian authorities have, especially within the last three months," Izzat al-Shahbandar, who is a close aide to the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said in an interview this week. "Al-Qaeda that is operating in Iraq is the same as that which is operating in Syria," he said.
The Syrian government has long sought to depict the opposition as dominated by Al-Qaeda and jihadist allies, something the opposition has denied. The original uprising began peacefully and slowly turned into an armed battle in response to the government's use of lethal force.
Syrian state media have routinely described every explosion as a suicide bombing, as they did with a bombing on July 18 that killed at least four high-ranking government officials.
Syria has become a draw for jihadists as the battle evolved into a sectarian war between a Sunni-dominated opposition and government and security forces dominated by the Alawite sect. Analysts began seeing what many thought really were suicide bombings, beginning in December.
There have been at least 35 car bombings and 10 confirmed suicide bombings, four of which have been claimed by Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front, according to data compiled by the Institute for the Study of War.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Al-Qaeda, Syria, suicide bombings, Sunni extremists, Iraq fears
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