The US may have endorsed the Syrian National Coalition as the “legitimate” rulers of Syria, but the group is not nearly so keen on the US, with several of its leaders faulting the Obama Administration for labeling the Al-Nusra Front a terrorist organization.
The US accuses al-Nusra of ties with al-Qaeda, and of potentially just being another name for al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The group has denied the allegations, but what can’t be denied is that they have used AQI-style tactics, including suicide bombings against civilian areas, as a centerpiece of their strategy.
In theory the label makes all the sense in the world. In practice al-Nusra has become a huge part of the rebels’ military strategy, and the other rebels concede the group is vital to the ongoing civil war.
Which brings the US goal of military-imposed regime change in direct conflict with the labeling, and has apparently irked not just rebels, but other Arab states backing the rebels, who fear that overtly backing a US-named terror group could be problematic.