The fact the al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the massacre of al-Salamiyah following a number of other violations requires drawing the line between yesterday’s and today’s views and actions.
The group which is efficiently fighting the Assad regime, as its proponents said when the United States labeled it a terrorist organization, is fighting the revolution even more efficiently and in the meantime expanding the life span of the regime and deepening the rifts in an already disintegrating society.
This means that preventing al-Nusra from fighting the regime is a duty because it means preventing the regime from gaining ground on other more sensitive and more critical fronts.
Group not part of the revolution
This movement, which combines an extremist ideology with a terrorist methodology, cannot be considered part of the revolution no matter the gains or losses this might entail. There is no revolution where al-Nusra is, for it promises nothing except the establishment of a tyranny that could be even fiercer than that of al-Assad regime, currently jumping with joy at the group’s activities and gloating at those who calculate victory in terms of square meters of land.
The revolution will not win with al-Nusra Front because that would create of Syria a hotbed for cross-border terrorism and would, therefore, render the reconstruction of the country now or later next to impossible. The group’s presence also has a negative impact on Western support of the Syrian revolution and undermines the chances of intervention on the part of Western powers. Let us set aside Arab arrogance and intransigence for the time being and admit that without this intervention, there is not hope of winning.
In other words, al-Nusra is creating the conditions that crush the revolution and close the door in the face of powers that can help this revolution emerge victorious, let alone losing the support of minorities like Alwaites, Kurds, Christians, Druze, and Ismailists for the revolution.
Disowning terrorist groups essential
In addition, disowning al-Nusra and similar groups paves the way for creating a future that is devoid of any Baath-like tyranny, be it religious, military, or terrorist, and for bridging the gap between ethnic and religious minorities and with civilian Sunni factions that are being constantly alienated by al-Nusra’s actions.
Al-Nusra Front is a terrorist organization even if it was the United States that said this.
We are sick of repeating the same facts about the role of the regime in producing groups like al-Nusra, in bestowing a religious identity upon the opposition, and in crushing all civilian resistance in order to leave the stage for Islamists. Talking is no longer useful, for now it is time for action whether in relation to al-Nusra or to the establishment of military and political institutions that would unify revolutionary powers. Those powers could request a higher level of military support from the West in return for ridding Syria, as well as the entire world, of al-Nusra and its likes.
Otherwise and while the revolution is undergoing one of its bleakest stages, victories will remain futile and defeats will keep multiplying
(Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghieh is a senior columnist and editor at al-Hayat daily. He grew up in Lebanon during the golden age of pan-Arabism. Saghieh’s vision of a united Arab world was shattered when the Israelis emerged victorious from the 1967 war. Twitter: @HazemSaghieh)