Al Qaeda Now Controls More Territory Than Ever In The Middle East
Revelation 13:4, “And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’”
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By Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland, CNN – “From around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.
Indeed, al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.
The focus of al Qaeda’s leaders has always been regime change in the Arab world in order to install Taliban-style regimes. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged as much in his 2001 autobiography, ‘Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,’ when he explained that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, ‘without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.’
Now al-Zawahiri is closer to his goal than he has ever been. On Friday al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq seized control of parts of the city of Falluja and parts of the city of Ramadi, both of which are located in Iraq’s restive Anbar Province.
Anbar is home to predominantly Sunni Muslims, who feel that that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki treats the Sunnis as second-class citizens.
Sectarian tensions in Anbar recently burst into several all-out revolts against the government, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as the al-Qaeda affiliate there is known, quickly seized the opportunity to notch some battlefield victories.
Government forces increased their presence around Falluja in response and on Tuesday tribal leaders issued a statement urging people who had fled the city or stopped reporting to work to return.
ISIS is also operating in Syria, where it has established a presence in many areas of the Aleppo and Idlib Governorates in the northwest. In August, ISIS launched a propaganda series on video highlighting their activities in Syria, which includes interviews with fighters; the ‘graduation’ of a group of mujahedin ‘cubs’ (aged about 7 to 10 years old) from training, and sermons at local mosques preaching al Qaeda’s interpretation of Islam.
The al-Nusra front has claimed to control parts of at least a dozen Syrian towns. Those include sections of the ancient city of the Aleppo in the northwest, where fighters have been filmed running a community fair and preaching al Qaeda’s values to crowds of children.
The group has also released videos on jihadist websites claiming that it is providing services to the people of several towns in the governorate of Idlib, which borders the Aleppo Governorate to the west. Al Nusra claims that it is a quasi-government and service-provider in the towns of Binnish, Taum, and Saraqib.
Al-Nusra fighters allied to al Qaeda function like a government in areas they control in Syria. The group provides daily deliveries of bread, free running water and electricity, a health clinic, and a strict justice system based on Sharia law in the eastern Syrian city of Ash Shaddadi, where it also took control of the city’s wheat silos and oil wells.
In September a CNN reporting team concluded, ‘Al Qaeda has swept to power with the aim of imposing a strict Islamist ideology on Syrians across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north.’
In sum, al Qaeda affiliates now control much of northern and northwestern Syria as well as some parts of eastern Syria, as well as much of Anbar province, which is around a third of Iraqi territory.” Read more.
Flashback: Algerian Writer: Islamists And Jihadis Are A Cancer On The Face Of The World – “It is not going to stop, [instead] it keeps on reproducing itself in the cities of the Sahara, it becomes vocal and shouts, then kills, taking you by the throat; it destroys giant Buddhas and [people's] bodies and advances like a desert that dries out even the desert itself: salafism/Islamism/fundamentalism, the cancer on the face of the world and on the will to live. All this no longer obeys the ancient forms of the threat: it is no longer a brigade, a group or a front, but a sort of tumor: it may swell under your armpit or on the streets of London. It kills; we then arrest the killer, but we do not stop the disease. We kill the hostage taker, but not the malignant cell. And it has a banner, a sort of skein of darkness, that is waved in the dry and dead wind of a theological infinity.” Read more.