Al-Qaeda Chief Urges World to Back Syria Rebels

Fighters From Iraq Pour Into Syria for New Civil War

Calls for arming and backing the various opposition factions in Syria aren’t the exclusive domain of the Arab League, or even of Senator Joe Lieberman (I – CT) anymore.

That’s because a new video today from al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri is also calling for international intervention against Bashar Assad, urging Muslim fighters from neighboring nations to join the rebels.

There have already been some indications of that happening, with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) fighters reportedly moving into Syria in significant numbers and playing a role in bombing attacks and arming the opposition.

It is an interesting shift, because the US and Iraqi governments have long blamed Syria’s government for AQI’s resilience, with Iraq broadcasting confessions on state TV claiming the Assad regime was training AQI.

The claims never made a lot of sense, above and beyond the Maliki government’s tendency to blame “Ba’athists” for al-Qaeda problems. The Syrian government is Shi’ite dominated, and it is unsurprising that al-Qaeda, along with many others, is angling to see a regime change toward their own auxiliaries.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.