In midst a bloody civil war, a decimated economy, chemical weapon attacks and the complete obliteration of its societal framework, it’s no surprise that Syria is becoming a greater playing field for al Qaeda and its extremist affiliates.
Although the U.S. has been highly successful at targeting al Qaeda leadership and crippling its network the past few years, its members have continued to inflict harm internationally by constantly migrating to politically unstable territories where Western forces have less access and fewer ties.
From Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria and Mali, al Qaeda has hopscotched across the Middle East and North Africa, popping up in areas prone to violence, corruption and statelessness.
For over a year, al Qaeda has backed the al Nusra group of rebels in Syria, but recent suicide attacks have hinted that the group is changing its tactics and working to undermine international efforts to end the conflict.
In addition to growing tension between the al Qaeda group and the West, rebels have begun criticizing the Nusra tactics that have killed dozens of the civilian population.
A growing concern now is what could happen if al Nusra decides to fight President Bashar al-Assad, Western forces and potentially its own rebel forces.
Does it want to assume leadership? Will more al Qaeda operatives follow? And at what point would U.S. forces get involved?
President Obama hasn’t indicated an increase in U.S. arms support or any other assistance to the rebels just yet, but history has shown that where instability grows, al Qaeda follows. It’s only a matter of time then before the U.S. increases its engagement in the region.
… That is if it isn’t too busy with budget battles and shutdown recovery.