When al-Nusra leader states the fact on US policy in Syria

Abu Mohammed al-Julani said Syria’s Sunnis are ‘lost and defending their existence and survival’

Mashari Althaydi

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Abu Mohammed al-Julani, leader of Fateh al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), said interesting things during his interview with Al-Jazeera TV on Saturday. Julani – whose forces and alliance target Russia, the US, Iran and the UN – said things that must be thoroughly considered.

He thinks the recent Russian-American deal aims to eliminate all the “real” powers that are fighting the Syrian regime, and that the aim is to launch a war against the country’s Sunni presence. Julani said even if a party other than his had surfaced with the ability to fight the regime, Russia, the US and the UN would have targeted it also.

Syria’s Sunnis are “lost and defending their existence and survival,” he said, highlighting “the necessity of uniting all factions… and resuming jihad until the regime falls.” He added: “There are other simple steps to take to reach a comprehensive agreement that will make Muslims in [Syria] happy.” What about Syrians who are not Muslim or Sunni?

Julani cannot be blamed for his sectarian approach, as Moscow’s policies and the problems caused by Washington have led to it

Mshari al-Thaydi

US policy

Julani declared his split from al-Qaeda in July. Many, including myself, did not believe it, but our suspicions do not deny that during his interview, he pinpointed the flaw in the US policy toward Syria.

Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is clear, but what about those who are supposed to support the moderate Syrian opposition? Washington is not performing this role, which has been a huge disaster for the Syrian cause.

Julani cannot be blamed for his sectarian approach, as Moscow’s policies and the problems caused by Washington have led to it. How else can we understand what happened under UN supervision in Darayya, Zabadani and Moadamiyeh, when Sunni residents were displaced in favor of a Shiite political map?

US policy is unquestionably wrong, and whether it is due to ill intentions by President Barack Obama or stubborn stupidity, the result is the creation of a perfect environment for Sunni anger.

However, there is a question that Julani must be asked: Was it not al-Qaeda that harmed the Sunni cause earlier by targeting Arab security via cooperation with Tehran against Saudi Arabia and other countries?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Sept. 19, 2016.
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.