Wednesday, April 14th | 2 Iyyar 5781

May 7, 2013 1:42 pm

Top Israeli Official Warns of Al-Qaeda in Syria

avatar by Ron Agam

Free Syrian Army rebels cleaning their AK47s in Aleppo, Syria, during the country's civil war on Oct. 19, 2012. Photo: VOA News/Wikimedia Commons.

Recently, I had a very interesting conversation with a high-ranking Israeli security official about developments in Syria. Apparently, from his point of view, the rebels in Syria have been infiltrated by elements from Al-Qaeda; their numbers may be in the thousands. This Al-Qaeda connection is often underplayed by the media and many supporters of the rebels. Responsible leaders in the West should pay serious attention to these allegations, as we are witnessing developing disasters in many of the Arab Spring revolutions. For the security of the region, a thorough analysis is needed of the players on the ground. The possibility of terrorist connections needs to be explored without ignoring the consequences of such alliances.

For Israel, all possible victors in Syria are bad. One is the axis of Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah, the other is Sunni radicals empowered by extremism. Ultimately, Lebanon will probably suffer the consequences of this destabilization, and the future of the country may again be at risk.

The other point that the Israeli official made to me was that Syria will not have peace for a very long time. The country may undergo a dismemberment into different regional sections based on religious orientation, i.e.: Alawites, Shiites, Sunnites. Christians will likely flee, much like the early post-Saddam Hussein period in Iraq.

Most interesting was the official’s affirmation that thousands of fighters in Syria come from European Muslim backgrounds, and many will sooner or later return home to haunt Europe. This prediction is very concerning as these individuals will surely be active in the seeding of terrorism in the European continent.

At a time when the US government is considering helping the rebel forces in Syria , news of serious Al-Qaeda infiltration and its centrality to the rebel cause should force the US to take a very serious look at its support of the rebels .

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