Ban Ki-moon believes Al-Qaeda behind Damascus bombing

 obscure Islamist group, al-Nusra

obscure Islamist group, al-Nusra

May 18, 2012
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he believes Al-Qaeda is behind two suicide car bombings that killed 55 people and wounded some 370 others in Damascus on May 10.

Ban said Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the region “has created very serious problems.”

[May 15]Al-Nusra Front, an Islamist group unknown before the Syrian revolt, has denied in a statement that it had claimed responsibility for Damascus bombings last week that killed 55 people.

“Many news agencies, news websites, and satellite channels… have attributed” the Damascus bombings on Thursday targeting the security services “to Al-Nusra Front, based on a video posted on YouTube,” said the statement dated May 13.

“But we say, this video as well as the statement appearing in it are fabricated and… full of errors,” the group said in the statement published on jihadist forums.

“We did not receive from the front’s military department any affirmation or denial or information regarding the operation,” the group said.

“Any further information arriving (on the attack) will be published on official jihadist forums.”
[May 12]A video posted online by an obscure Islamist group, al-Nusra, has said it carried out two bomb attacks in the Syrian capital Damascus on May 10.

The attacks took place near a military intelligence building during the morning rush hour, killing 55 people.

Authorities had blamed “foreign-backed terrorists” for the attacks.
Syrian opposition figures have claimed that this group is backed by the al-Assad regime, and that its main objective is to defame the reputation of the Syrian revolution. Syrian Islamist Omar Bakri informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Al-Nusra Front is not known amongst Islamists or mujahedeen; no [Islamic] scholar or mujahedeen has recommended any such group. As for any group that puts forward its literature, we must first be sure of it and its system of operations before…even if a scholar or mujahedeen has recommended it on the Syrian scene.”

He added “as an expert in Islamic groups and organizations, I can say that the only confirmed link to this group…is that the jihadist DAWN media group has published its announcement claiming responsibility for the Damascus operation. However it may take time to investigate what other Islamist groups sponsor it.”

Bakri told Asharq Al-Awsat that “personally, we could say that this group’s actions have preceded its words.”

Omar Bakri, previously informed Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview conducted in January that “neither Al Qaeda nor Salafist Jihadist groups have any presence in Lebanon or Syria” adding “there are many Salafist individuals and youths committed to the course of true Salafist, but they are scarred without organization or a leader that forge them in the same melting pot.”

For his part, Sheikh Abu Basir al-Tartousi, announced his reservations about this newly-established Islamist group. He said “I have never heard about this group…or anyone belonging to it. However my lack of knowledge about them is not detrimental to them, so long as they are sincere and genuine mujahedeen.”

Al-Tartousi, a well-known jihadist figure, revealed that he has some “reservations” about this group, and the video clip it released which announces its presence on the jihadist scene. Al-Tartousi said that his reservations centred on the fact that “all those who appeared, even the spokesman, were hiding their features, which does not fit a group who is calling for the defense of the people of the Levant.

He added “the people of the Levant – who are being targeted – have freed their hearts from fear… everybody is protesting and fighting with their faces bare, facing the bullets of the tyrant and his regime. So the question that springs to mind is: how can the vulnerable Muslim people fight tyranny with their faces bare, revealing their names and identity – even women are doing this – whilst those who want to protect them are hiding their faces and identities?”

For his part, Haitham al-Maleh, head of the National Congress in support of the FSA, accused the al-Assad regime of “standing behind this group and others, with the objective of defaming the reputation of the Syrian opposition.” Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, al-Maleh stressed that “the opposition forces have no connection with this group, which they would not accept for a second” adding “everybody knows that the [al-Assad] regime has ties to Al Qaeda and that it is responsible for sending its members to the Nahr al-Bared [refugee] camp in Lebanon. We do not target civilians; rather it is the regime that does this.”

Al-Maleh, who is also a prominent member of the Syrian National Council [SNC], also stressed that “the Free Syrian Army [FSA] might target governmental installations, but it would never target civilians, because its main mission is to protect [Syrian] citizens.”

FSA Colonel Khalid al-Hammoud also strongly denied that his group has any ties to the Al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant, speculating that “the Syrian regime was responsible for these explosions, and for creating this group to gain a foothold on the ground.” The FSA official told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the FSA does not have political or religious dimensions, our members belong to all different sects, and we also do not have any ties – as some have accused – to Al Qaeda; we are also not Islamists or extremists.”

He stressed that “the FSA’s operations are as far as possible from harming civilians” adding “we do not support suicide operations…we abide by the rules of war and international conventions.”

Colonel Khalid al-Hammoud said that groups such as the Al-Nusra Front, if they truly are Syrian opposition groups, only serve to “harm the FSA, the Syrian opposition, and the revolution.” He added “there are some small groups on the ground that seek to kidnap figures and demand ransom…such groups have no ties whatsoever to the FSA.”

The official Syrian Arab News Agency [SANA] announced that “an extremist Islamist terrorist group calling itself ‘Jabhet al-Nasra’ claimed responsibility for the two terrorist bombings that took place in Damascus on Saturday. The aforementioned bombings claimed 26 lives and wounded dozens of civilians and law-enforcement personnel, in addition to causing massive damage to buildings, homes and private properties in the blast sites.”
A video posted online by an obscure Islamist group, al-Nusra, has said it carried out two bomb attacks in the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday.

The attacks took place near a military intelligence building during the morning rush hour, killing 55 people.

Authorities had blamed “foreign-backed terrorists” for the attacks.

The al-Nusra group emerged in January and has said it was behind previous attacks, including one in March on a police HQ and airforce Intelligence.

The video says the bombings were in response to attacks on civilian areas by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

“We fulfilled our promise to respond with strikes and explosions,” a distorted voice says in the video, according to the Associated Press.

“We tell this regime: Stop your massacres against the Sunni people. If not, you will bear the sin of the Alawites,” the video continues, referring to the offshoot of Shia Islam to which Mr Assad and many of the ruling elite belong.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says al-Nusra refers to its fighters as “mujahideen of Sham [Syria] in the arena of jihad” and there are suspicions it may have links to al-Qaeda.

Anti-government activists had accused the regime of orchestrating the explosions in order to discredit the opposition.

Advertisements

About huecri

Publishing on the Web is a fairly iterative process. ...NYT ...Not too long ago, reporters were the guardians of scarce facts delivered at an appointed time to a passive audience. Today we are the managers of an overabundance of information and content, discovered, verified and delivered in partnership with active communities. summer 2012 issue of Nieman Reports from Harvard, --- THE FIX by Chris Cillizza, WAPO blogger, quoting Matt Drudge: “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices,” he said in the speech. “Every citizen can be a reporter.” Later, he added: “The Net gives as much voice to a 13 year old computer geek like me as to a CEO or Speaker of the House. "
This entry was posted in Middle East Unrest and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s