Video: AQ to fill post-Assad vacuum in Syria?

posted at 10:01 am on August 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Suddenly, it seems as though the US government has finally begun to consider what will happen in a post-Bashar al-Assad Syria.  CBS News reports that the State Department fears that al-Qaeda will fill the power vacuum from its power base in neighboring Iraq, and seize control of chemical weapons and whatever else Assad has lying around:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials are concerned about the growing presence of al Qaeda terrorists in civil war-torn Syria. In a statement released over the weekend, the State Department said the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)  has  moved himself and the group’s operations to Syria. A State Department spokesperson also noted that the deadly suicide attacks and car bombings carried out in Iraq in recent days can be attributed to AQI.

CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell warned of the risk of the collapse of the Syrian government – which possesses a considerable stockpile of chemical and advanced weapons —  namely, a power vacuum which would leave room for al Qaeda to take hold and take advantage of their weapons cache and technical capabilities.

Be sure to watch it all, but pay close attention to this:

Many of the fighters now based in Syria likely came from Afghanistan, North Africa, Yemen and Iraq, where they learned to fight the U.S., Logan explained.

“That organization [in Syria] is in very close contact with Ayman al-Zawahri, who is in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region,” she said. Al-Zawahri is Osama bin Laden’s successor, who in 2001, laid out his long-term plan for the global jihadi movement.

Remember when the so-called “core al-Qaeda” was “on the run”?  Good times, good times. Lara Logan also mentions that AQI has a “guerilla army” capable of shifting to any front in the region. That army just got a huge boost in enlistments, thanks to a series of eleven almost-certainly coordinated jailbreaks from Pakistan to Libya, springing a thousand or more fighters from prisons.

Remember too that the US has tried to intervene mainly on the same side as AQI in this fight.  The Obama administration has squared off against Russia over the future of Assad to the point of a near-breakdown in diplomatic relations.  Russia wanted to prop up Assad both for their own economic benefit, but also for stability in the region.  The US saw an opportunity to kick out a strut of Iran’s regional hegemonic ambitions without considering what would follow an Assad collapse — even though we had just walked through the same exact scenario in Libya, with disastrous results.

In fact, CBS gets one key point wrong in this otherwise-insightful segment.  AQ doesn’t really want control of a state, at least not primarily.  Failed states like Libya, Somalia, and possibly Syria suit their needs just as well. They want to be free of states imposing security restrictions in order to export terror and shari’a oppression, as they nearly succeeded with Mali after the US and the West helpfully deposed Moammar Qaddafi for them.  Their end game is a caliphate that stretches across the Muslim world, controlled by their own emir, not statehood in the Western sense.  The decapitation of Assad, like that of Qaddafi, is their best outcome as long as it doesn’t come with Western boots on the ground to demolish their army — which we accomplished in Iraq until the political will to continue evaporated after the surge.

Intervention in this region requires the elimination of even the possibility of the kind of vacuum we left in Libya, and proposed to leave in Syria with our long-distance assistance to the same side as AQI.  Either go big, or stay home.


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The hell with CBS News…I’ll have to tune into Al Jazeera
News with Soledad (Harvard Fellow) OBrien,
and David Shuster to get this info…Is this a great country
of what!!??

ToddPA on August 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM

If Patton were alive, I think he might have turned Third Army loose on Washington first, then gone after AQ. What our government under Obama, the Dems, and with RINOs like McCain is doing is unbelievable. Bush’s post-invasion project with Iraq was inept. What this Administration is doing in the Middle East is far worse, and will be far more damaging for our country for a very long time to come.

Liam on August 13, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Well, duh?

NotCoach on August 13, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The war in Syria is the ultimate case of Evil fighting Evil… Assad/Hizballah/Iran terror camp on one side and Al Qaeda on the other side… The Free Syrian Army is the best among all options but it has been now overshadowed by Al Qaeda terrorists among the force fighting Assad…

So what to do? Make sure that Evil will keep killing Evil for a long time… Make sure that neither of two Evil sides will prevail… Arm the Free Syrian army so they will be the strongest side and able to control Syria in the future free of Al Qaeda and free of Al Assad/Hizballah/Iran…

mnjg on August 13, 2013 at 10:16 AM

During the Iraq War, Democrats and other libs were saying that fighting AQ only breeds more terrorists.

What do they think arming them will do — make them want to sit around a camp fire singing Kumbaya and playing Pattycake?

Liam on August 13, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Intervention in this region requires the elimination of even the possibility of the kind of vacuum we left in Libya, and proposed to leave in Syria with our long-distance assistance to the same side as AQI. Either go big, or stay home.

Alternate headline….. McCain again calls for boots-on-ground in Syria. Will discuss on Sunday’s Meet the Press.

Just putting the predictable out there.

But hey, Al Qaeda is on the run thanks to the super-smart policy of the rat-eared wonder. What do we have to be afraid of. He “got” OBL and saved Detroit. The very seas trembled at his election and began receding. Rest well America. We have nothing to fear from the events going on in Syria.

Happy Nomad on August 13, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Libya Part Deux.

Johnnyreb on August 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM

What this Administration is doing in the Middle East is far worse, and will be far more damaging for our country for a very long time to come.

Liam on August 13, 2013 at 10:12 AM

This administration has hung the “mission accomplished” banner in the region. Not because it is true but to hide the mess they have made from any real discussion.

Happy Nomad on August 13, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Remember when there was an at least nominally secular resistance movement? Maybe if we had gotten behind them in a big way, we wouldn’t have regular headlines like this.

Kafir on August 13, 2013 at 10:25 AM

In this vid, Benazir Bhutto mentions the man who murdered bin Laden. Then she was killed. It’s from years ago.

Just thought I’d toss that in.

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 10:26 AM

But, … but, …. but, President O-word told me that Al-Qa’ida is on the run!? I guess he meant they were running to Syria. Ok, I get it now.

RandallinHerndon on August 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM

If Patton were alive, I think he might have turned Third Army loose on Washington first, then gone after AQ. Liam on August 13, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Hmmm… how many generals and admirals has 0Booba sacked…? It couldn’t mean anything, I know…

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Despite working at CBS, Lara Logan is one of the “good guys”, who cares more about the facts than politics.

Tater Salad on August 13, 2013 at 10:29 AM

In the end when we are gone and the mad muzzies are left to themselves it reverts to shia vs. sunni.
assad and syria are shia as is iran and russia is on their side.
Much of the rest of the mid east is Sunni,they have a huge advantage as is zero. We see now what happens when we leave. Just look at Iraq they go back to their ways of the 7th century which they will always do no matter what.
I say let them do each other in and just sit back and watch.
If they come our way use overwhelming force so they will think about it the next time.

rodguy911 on August 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM

One thing’s for sure, The US will not be on the side of the enemies of Islam. At least according to the State Dept.

“The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community.”

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 10:44 AM

So Detroit is dead and AQ is thriving. Juuuuuust a bit different than what we were told.

Color me shocked that 0bama lied throughout the 2012 campaign.

jukin3 on August 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Really? Who could have seen that coming.

Seriously – not anybody in D.C. Bunch of freaking idiots.

Hill60 on August 13, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Smart Power.

Good Lt on August 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM

The decapitation of Assad, like that of Qaddafi, is their best outcome as long as it doesn’t come with Western boots on the ground to demolish their army

OK, when a terrorist sponsor like Assad is the less worse option you know things are incredibly f’ed up.

rbj on August 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Obama, McCain, “Miss Lindsey” Graham, Peter King, Mike Rogers – ship of fools

bw222 on August 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM

I am sure the Israelis are doing their best to covertly destroy as many weapons as possible.

Obama is playing golf.

albill on August 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Islamic terrorists with chemical weapons, and perhaps nuclear ones. “What me worry” Obama will do nothing, but the Israelis will not sit on their hands. I’m beginning to think the Apocalypse is actually going to happen.

kjatexas on August 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

I’m beginning to think the Apocalypse is actually going to happen. kjatexas on August 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

It already did.

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Logan: “…al Qaeda’s ideology…their ideology…their ideology…”

What ideology is that Lara? Oh yeah, Islam.

Why aren’t they saying it?

Want to apologize for your “Arab Spring” garbage yet Lara?

Man, these people are dumb.

WhatSlushfund on August 13, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Any wonder why AQ-Iraq just moved their command center to Syria?

State Dept. Confirms al Qaeda is shifting a command center to Syria

batter on August 13, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I’m beginning to think the Apocalypse is actually going to happen.

kjatexas on August 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

.
Why were you a “doubting Thomas”, till now ?
.

It already did.

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM

.
Jerusalem has not yet been “surrounded”, like it’s going to be. We haven’t even had a ‘surface scratch’, compared to what’s coming.

listens2glenn on August 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Despite working at CBS, Lara Logan is one of the “good guys”, who cares more about the facts than politics.

Tater Salad on August 13, 2013 at 10:29 AM

.
She is now … but was she, before being assaulted in Egypt ?
It’s ok if you don’t know the answer to that. I hadn’t even heard of her, before that. That’s why I was wondering.

listens2glenn on August 13, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Glad Ed is finally waking up to the problem of letting al qaeda setup shop in syria the same way bin ladin did in afghanistan before 9/11. Better late than never Ed.

philrat on August 13, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Hey, Ed, what’s in a name, Muslim Brotherhood or al Qaeda, brothers under the skin? Al Qaeda is the activist group and the Muslim Brotherhood is the equally extreme public good guy face, until they get control of a government, e.g. Egypt.

No matter how you nuance it radical (is there any other kind?) Muslims will end up running Syria with Assad gone – or in practical terms with Assad present under Hezbollah’s thumb.

{^_^}

herself on August 14, 2013 at 5:31 AM