BEIRUT

Editorial

Fending off Al-Qaeda

  • Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a parade at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey January 2, 2014. Picture taken January 2, 2014. (REUTERS/Yaser Al-Khodor)

  • A member of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra mans a checkpoint on the border crossing between Syria and Jordan, which they claim to have taken control of, in Daraa December 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Ammar Khassawneh)

Various permutations of Al-Qaeda have spread in Iraq and Syria in recent years, and Lebanon is now the latest country in which the group wants to establish a presence.

Al-Qaeda-inspired groups don’t have a history of forming viable institutions and offering much other than fiery rhetoric, spectacular violence and dictatorial rule. But their actions can nonetheless leave lasting damage on societies and the political systems that govern them.

In Iraq, the group took hold in the wake of the U.S. invasion and has experienced a resurgence thanks to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s biased government.

In Syria, the regime itself helped foster the spread of Islamist extremists, who have done considerable harm to the cause of mainstream rebels fighting against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

But in Lebanon, the phenomenon is still in its infancy, which means that every effort should be made to eliminate this violent political current while there is still time.

Thousands of Syrians were busy fighting back Friday against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, whether in the form of street demonstrations or armed clashes.

Anyone who is following the Syrian conflict should remember that the regime has done everything it can to convince the world Al-Qaeda, and not itself, is the reason for the chaos and violence there.

Efforts to counter Al-Qaeda should not serve to help the regime, whose acts have lured outside extremists. The mainstream opposition and many rebels now realize they must fight back, because a future political transition is at stake.

In Lebanon, stepped-up security measures may foil a terror attack, but if a solution to Al-Qaeda is to be comprehensive and durable, it must be anchored by a political approach to begin immediately.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 04, 2014, on page 7.
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here