Syrian rebellion dominated by radical Islam

A Civil War Hijacked

March 10, 2013  •  From

Just who is the Syrian opposition?

By Callum Wood

As the war in Syria continues, more moderate rebels are joining the radical Sunni camp. The Syrian opposition has been effectively hijacked by radical Islam. The People’s Liberation Army is bogged down in its fight with the government. Simultaneously, the radical groups are growing in popularity through a series of military victories, and through providing public services to war-torn communities.

Protests began peacefully on the streets of Syria two years ago as opposition groups, made up in large part by Syrian youths, called for democracy and the ousting of President Bashar Assad. In true dictatorial form, the response from the government was swift and heavy. Today, Syria remains in the grip of civil war as the opposition gradually makes ground in what has become a war of attrition.

One reason the rebels are not able to make a lot of headway is because they do not have the weaponry they want. The international community has been hesitant to arm the opposition. Washington and Europe recognize that they are not the same group that cheered for democracy back in March 2011. Rafif Jouejati, the English spokeswoman for the Local Coordination Committees in Syria, said, “There is an increasing militarization and now increased radicalization of the revolution.”

As the fighting continues, the moderate opposition is beginning to wane. There is more than physical conflict going on. There is an ideological battle, and the extremists are winning. There are a number of reasons why the Syrian people are disillusioned with the main opposition factions, and are instead looking to the radical groups.

The main opposition is made up of a number of factions. The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces is one of the latest anti-government movements. These groups all have their own ideas on where the country should be heading post-Assad. With such division, no decisions are made quickly. They are seen as out of touch with the people. The leaders meet in high-class hotels in foreign countries and debate while the Syrian rebels fight for their lives. The people in Syria see the extremist groups taking action, often with notable victories against government forces.

The mainstream fighting force of the opposition is named the Free Syrian Army. It was the driving force behind the revolution at first. Today, it is accused of taking advantage of the power it has. There are claims of corruption and brutality. Execution of prisoners is common. This attitude and lack of discipline can blur the lines between friend and foe in Syria.

The more extreme Islamist groups are better armed and better trained. They have achieved high-profile victories like the capture of the Taftanaz airbase. Such victories help establish the credibility of radical Islamic groups within the revolution.

One of the most dominant radical forces in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra. The jihadist group has been labeled a foreign terror organization, which has been linked to al Qaeda in Iraq by the U.S. State Department. Al-Nusra has been increasingly effective in Syria and has bolstered its numbers with foreign fighters from Iraq and elsewhere.

Al-Nusra and nine other local jihadist brigades announced that they were going to form a regional unified command structure called the Mujahideen Shura Council. They are also installing cheap public services in ravaged Syrian communities. They clean roads and repair infrastructure. The city of Aleppo in northern Syria is an example of this idea of taking over and then cleaning up.

Al-Nusra ensures that the people see its victories, and see the benefits it provide. Why wouldn’t the people support such action?

As honorable as these radical militant groups appear, there is still an ulterior motive that must not be ignored. Look at Egypt. Remember the youths that called for democracy at the outset? What happened to them? They were silenced when the revolution was hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, which went on to gain control. Egypt now stands as an Islamic dictatorship worse than it was before the fall of Hosni Mubarak. It is a stark testimony to what happens when you let radical Islam go unchecked.

The United States is not unaware of this truth in Syria. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that al-Nusra “has sought to portray itself as a part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by aqi [al Qaeda in Iraq] to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes.”

The situation in Syria is dangerously similar to that in Egypt. The youthful protesters calling for democracy have been drowned out by the radicals. When the current administration falls, radical Sunni groups such as al-Nusra will be there to pick up the pieces.

President Assad is Shiite. The Shiites are the minority in Syria, but are closely aligned with their Lebanese neighbors and their long-time ally to the east, Iran. When the Assad regime crumbles, the international community will hope for a democracy to be established. However, radical Sunni is just as dangerous as radical Shiite.

The situation in Syria may be even worse if the Sunni militants such as al-Nusra come to power. Under Assad, nations had some understanding of Syria’s goals and allegiances. The militants are an unknown. There are so many different groups, each with their own plans. If they gain control of the chemical weapons stockpiles, they may be more inclined to use them than the current administration. Al-Nusra is well versed in the execution of terrorist attacks. Chemical weapons would be a serious upgrade from its current use of car bombs and regular militia.

The immediate future of Syria and its administration may be wracked with uncertainty, but there is one fact that can be confirmed well in advance of its fruition. Syria will break away from Iran and ally itself with Europe. That European power will step in and destroy Iran and its Islamic proxies. This is all prophesied in your Bible. Read Psalm 83 to see Syria’s role in this alliance. Watch “The Psalm 83 Prophecy” to gain a full appreciation of the incredible plan that God has laid out, not only for the Middle East, but for the whole world. ▪

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