Green Room

Nusra Front self-sustaining after seizing control of key Syrian city

posted at 7:01 pm on September 12, 2013 by

That’s Jabhat al-Nusra, which declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda earlier this year after the US listed it as a terrorist-network affiliate in December 2012. They are the most effective fighting force among the rebels in Syria, and one of the most insistent on imposing shari’a law on the conquered.  That includes Ash Shaddadi, McClatchy reports, which gives the Nusra Front access to enough oil and gas revenue to sustain their entire war effort:

Sitting at the edge of a vast and barren desert in Syria’s gas and oil production region, Ash Shaddadi, a city of 70,000, has become the nightmare that many fear if Syria’s radical Islamist forces triumph in this country’s civil war.

Since mid-February, the city has been under the control of the radical Islamist militia known as Jabhat al Nusra, or the Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to al Qaida. The spoils of conquest include much of eastern Syria’s petroleum resources: a major natural gas plant here, many oil wells in the countryside of Deir el Zour province to the south and much of the production of grains and cotton.

Nusra, which the U.S. government has branded a terrorist organization, captured Ash Shaddadi from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad with the help of the pro-Western Free Syrian Army rebels. But the better-equipped Nusra – many of its fighters veterans of battles against U.S. forces in Iraq – took the lead in the four days of fighting, capturing weapons, ammunition and government property.

Today Nusra runs the town. It controls the grain silos, the cotton warehouses, and most important the region’s gas and oil output. Yet the biggest windfall from victory may have been the proceeds from the sale of some 400 major construction vehicles, which they captured when they overran state facilities in January. The sale of the equipment netted 4 billion Syrian pounds, almost $40 million at the time, according to local Free Syrian Army commanders.

Townspeople have taken to the streets repeatedly to protest Nusra’s inability to provide basic services and its claim to piety and religious values while it seizes public property for use as it sees fit. But the protests haven’t shaken Nusra’s hold on the area, and because Nusra is self-sufficient in Ash Shaddadi, its fighters say there’s no way for outsiders to shut down support.

Be sure to read it all, especially while keeping in mind the argument that American involvement now can dictate a moderate alliance to replace Bashar al-Assad after regime change.  It didn’t take Nusra Front long to push out the “moderates,” nor to choose its next enemy in the field — and it’s not Assad:

With Assad’s forces ousted from the area, the United States is their primary foe, Nusra fighters say.

“America is our enemy. They must get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt, and they must put pressure on Israel,” said Abu al Walid, 21, a student of petroleum engineering who’s now guarding the Ash Shaddadi gas plant.

 

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Way to go, Øbama, Preezy of the United Steezy, making a difference in the ME so that Israel and U.S. interests are endangered. Everybody else is playing chess while you’re playing checkers, Party Animal. Resign already and take Sloe Joe with ya.

ExpressoBold on September 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Way to go, Øbama, Preezy of the United Steezy, making a difference in the ME so that Israel and U.S. interests are endangered. Everybody else is playing chess while you’re playing checkers, Party Animal. Resign already and take Sloe Joe with ya.

ExpressoBold on September 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Checkers at least requires some strategy.

Everyone else is playing chess and he’s playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

JadeNYU on September 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Everyone else is playing chess and he’s playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

JadeNYU on September 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM

.
Yeah, that makes sense, hippos are a sub-Saharan animal and we’re talking ME, so, yeah, that’s his focal point. No, really! He has daughters!

ExpressoBold on September 12, 2013 at 8:15 PM

“My brothers!” – mnjg

NotCoach on September 13, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Once again, Emperor Øligula has hitched his broken down wagon to the wrong train – again. How many times does that idiot have to be told to just shut up and mind his/our own business?
How did did Barry’s illegal intervention in “Lybia” and Egypt work out? The Muslim Brotherhood and every other barbaric terrorist has been empowered by OUR pResident-in-Chief – The mouthy Petulant Pissant.
EVERY parent knows that one does NOT give an ultimatum to an obstreperous child and not follow up with action. King Barry wimped out from own words. It’s a damn good thing too!
Hopefully, the world knows that the United States is not behind the leader from behind in anything. The next POTUS will have one helluva mess to clean up and reputation to restore.
Being rolled by Mad Vlad (ras)Putín would be funny if it didn’t reflect poorly on all Americans.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on September 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Then we should bomb the hell out of them… It is easier to destroy the terrorists when they are gathered in one city rather scattered…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 11:31 AM

rather = rather than

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Checkers at least requires some strategy.

Everyone else is playing chess and he’s playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

JadeNYU on September 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Candy Land.

Count to 10 on September 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM