"...Whether the American steps today will immediately curtail Nusra’s capabilities, I don’t think they will,” the official said. But the official said he hoped it would discourage those donating to Nusra, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.“I think other nations that are involved in helping the armed opposition will now take more seriously our concerns about the Nusra Front and its expanding influence,” the official said. “It is important for countries to understand what Nusra is and what it represents.”
That’s especially true now as the United States, after months of hesitation, has decided to throw its support to a new coalition of Syrian opposition groups that came together last month under U.S. pressure.... Whether that will be enough to ween the secular rebels from Nusra is unclear, said Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War who recently returned from touring rebel-held areas to research Nusra and other Islamist groups in Syria.
The declaration that Nusra is a terrorist group hasn’t cut into Nusra’s support, O’Bagy said, and may in fact be bolstering it. Some prominent rebel commanders – including two well-known moderate generals in Aleppo – pledged solidarity with Nusra. Other Syrians have dubbed the U.S. move a “pro-Assad policy.”.......
Why did the Obama administration wait so long to move against a force it had identified as al Qaida more than 10 months ago?
“My guess is that it’s because the administration has tried to stay away from overtly backing the opposition and picking sides, and now they can no longer stay out of the situation,” O’Bagy said..."
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 8:12 PM