Who’s playing the Jihadists’ card in Syria?

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By Fatih Abdulsalam

Azzaman, November 9, 2012

It has become clear by now that the Jihadists in Syria have become cards in a game that is being played by international actors.

The Jihadists in Syria were propelled to limelight as the armed opposition strived to spread its control over villages and districts amid large-scale killings mainly of civilians in areas away from the capital Damascus.

But no one should gloss over the fact of how Jihadists used to pay homage to CIA centers in Afghanistan when they were used by the U.S. as proxies to fight the former Soviet Union.

Who are these Jihadists and what are they doing in Syria? The Jihadists are swarms of Arabs and Muslims who rushed to Syria to fight its regime on the pretext that the regime itself is involved in a fight against the Muslim Sunni majority and that it has allied itself with Iran and Hizbollah in Lebanon.

So their involvement in the Syrian rebellion has no political connotation or orientation. It is purely on sectarian grounds.

The divisions among the Syrian opposition whether inside or outside the country and international prejudices and whims of how conditions on the ground in the country were to develop were the reasons that left the presence of these Jihadists go unnoticed in the beginning.

The Syrian opposition and its fighters on the ground failed to uncover the reality of these Jihadists, their size and influence and the type of attacks they performed, which in case were more brutal and inhumane than the actions of the regime itself.

And now suddenly everyone finds that the Jihadists in Syria have become a power to reckon with.

Is the Syrian opposition and its armed wing the Syrian Free Army in need of hundreds of Jihadists from various Arab and Muslim countries?

No one in fact knows how these Jihadists have been mobilized and armed and which countries or intelligence agencies are behind them.

It will be naïve and stupid of anyone to believe that the Jihadists have been pouring into Syria without any country having the capacity to spot them, thwart their activities, stop their infiltration and even apprehend them.

All the Jihadists who are operating in Syria, whether in hundreds or thousands, do not equal one single Syrian fighter who had left his home, family and children for the sake of freedom and democracy and change for the better in his own country.

The Jihadists in Syria come from different countries, have different ideological and religious orientations and are not fighting for the sake of planting good trees in Syria. Opposition fighters should have contained and liquidated their presence right from the beginning.

But as their presence has become more and more felt, the Jihadists have become one of the files in the hands of the U.S. and others blowing in empty horns and waiting for the right opportunity to utilize them to settle scores when the right time comes.