Photo: al-Sahab on YouTube
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has released a new video praising Syrian protestors and calling them, “sons of the Levant, the front for freedom and martyrdom.”But in an interview with CNN, prominent Syrian activist Loay Hussein rejected al-Zawahiri’s attempt to insert al Qaeda into the popular uprising in Syria and scolded him for trying to render Syria, “a playground for jihad.”
Al-Qaeda has made repeated attempts to claim credit and involvement for the uprisings and protests across the Middle East and North Africa that have come to be known as the “Arab Spring.”
To most experts,al Qaeda’s vision of strict Islamic rule appears increasingly out of touch with the more secular and democratic goals of those spearheading the uprisings. Hussein himself made note of this, saying, “None of the chants in the streets refer to a religious goal, all our aspirations are nationalistic.”
Hussein predicts that the Syrian government will use the al-Qaeda leader’s remarks as fodder for violence against Syrian demonstrators. He told CNN, “I would not be surprised if in a few days Syrian State TV begins to claim that jihadist members of al Qaeda are responsible for killing civilians to send even more security to raid our homes and villages.”
Al-Zawahiri construed U.S. support for the protestors as a ploy to replace Bashar al-Assad’s government with one amenable to keeping peace with Israel.
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