Al Qa’ida’s Deception in Syria is Merely an Image Re-Brand: Islamist Convictions Remain

In an effort to win a little ‘hearts and minds’ battle in Syria, the al-Qa’ida affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, has re-branded itself.  It has done so in an effort to appear as a ‘kinder, gentler’ jihadist organization and to survive in a multi-level/multi-actor war.  This is consistent with some of the lessons learned by al-Qa’ida in Iraq over the past decade.  For a long, but informative, read, see “The Politics of Pragmatism: Jabhat Al-Nusra Disembarking from Al-Qaeda.”

For an alternative perspective, see “Al-Qa’ida Ucoupling: Jabhat al-Nusra’s Rebranding as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.”  In this piece, one can see that the effort to ‘uncouple’ is merely a natural outgrowth of the long-term views that al-Qa’ida’s leaders have always held.  What is more, this purported ‘break’ from the terrorist organization is not necessarily real.  Indeed, it’s more of a ruse than anything.


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