U.S. Blacklists Al-Nusra Front Leaders, Says Group Trying to 'Hijack' Syrians Struggle

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The United States Tuesday blacklisted the Al-Nusra Front, a rebel group in Syria linked to Al-Qaida in Iraq, accusing it of being a terror group trying to "hijack" the legitimate struggle of the Syrian rebels.

In designating the group a foreign terrorist organization, the State Department said that while al-Nusra portrayed itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition, "it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes."

The group has claimed responsibility for recent suicide bombings that killed scores of people, and has said it hopes to replace the Assad family's four-decade-old dictatorship with a strict Islamic state.

The U.S. Treasury, meanwhile, announced sanctions against the leaders of both al-Nusra and militias backing the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The United States "will target the pro-Assad militias just as we will the terrorists who falsely cloak themselves in the flag of the legitimate opposition," said David Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The Al-Nusra Front is one of the most effective of several armed groups fighting to overthrow the Syrian regime, raising concerns in the West that hardline Islamists are gaining the upper hand in the 21-month-old revolt.

The State Department has linked the group to Al-Qaida in Iraq, which has carried out scores of massive bombings targeting Shiite civilians and regularly targeted U.S. forces before their withdrawal a year ago.

The Treasury Department designated two of the Al-Nusra Front's senior leaders, Maysar Ali Moussa Abdallah al-Juburi and Anas Hasan Khattab, for sanctions.

The Treasury Department also sanctioned two armed militia groups supporting the Assad regime -- Jaysh al-Sha'bi and Shabiha -- as well as two Shabiha commanders.

"These militias have been instrumental in the Assad regime's campaign of terror and violence against the citizens of Syria," the Treasury Department said.

Jaysh al-Sha'bi "was created, and continues to be maintained, with support from Iran and Hizbullah and is modeled after the Iranian Basij militia, which has proven itself effective at using violence and intimidation to suppress political dissent within Iran," the Treasury Department said.

Comments 6
Thumb mckinl 11 December 2012, 16:49

lol the revolution high jacked by jihadists ?... Then the US should have a word with Saudi Arabia, France, England and their own CIA!

Missing bigjohn 11 December 2012, 17:58

The US supports "jihadists" and "Terrorists" that do not pose a threat to Israel.

Thumb mckinl 11 December 2012, 18:21

That is their belief but as we have seen with the case of the jihadist (Al Qaeada) in Afghanistan they have been terrible at controlling these groups once they have created them.

Did you know that Hamas was created by Israel to counter Fatah? That the US adopted the Muslim Brotherhood to counter the USSR influence under Nasser and Sadat?

The US is now using surrogate groups all around the globe as in Libya ... where it all went very badly for one US Ambassador. "No fly zones", rrones and proxies are Americas newest strategy.

Default-user-icon JC Williams (Guest) 11 December 2012, 17:24

Political cover for the US with it's NATO allies because of poosible War Crimes trials against the "rebels" after the fall of Assad. These jihadists will be shown the door and experience summary justice Or maybe they can all go live with Erdogan in friendly NATO country Turkey or get free passes to the brothels of the House of Saud. Go Arab Spring,Go. Killers wanted ,name your price ,get paid up front, only you might not live to spend the douggh.

Missing bigjohn 11 December 2012, 19:02

I was just being sarcastic. It is called "unintended consequences". I am aware of everything you said and agree with you. I replied to your comments on US call for Europeans to sanction HA in more details.

Thumb mckinl 11 December 2012, 19:43

It is called "unintended consequences".

It is also called "blowback" ...

I'll have a look there ...