No fresh insights in the Al Nusra relationship with Al Qaeda
Abu Muhammad al-Joulani, the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria) gave an interview to al-Jazeera TV yesterday (27th May). He was not asked about Nusra’s links with al-Qaeda and its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Unexpectedly it provided no fresh insights and was criticised by many observers as providing nothing new about the group’s links with al-Qaeda or relations with its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The interview was monitored by 5 Dimension Consultants in Dubai who reported “Joulani did state that Nusra is not looking to attack the west nor is it planning to (for now) based on Zawahiri’s direction.
This admission, and the emphasis he put on attacking Assad (for now) angered many moderate Syrian opposition groups, even the Islamist ones and they took to social media to criticise the Nusra’s fence sitting regarding al-Qaeda as well as Joulani’s refusal to rule out Nusra’s potential involvement in future attacks against the West.”
The 5 Dimensions team went on to say “The indications so far, including two references in the interview, first to Zawahiri’s directives and second, the flag of Nusra placed in front of Joulani assert Nusra’s subordination to al-Qaeda; therefore Nusra, for the time being remains affiliated to al-Qaeda.”
During the interview Joulani did make clear threats towards Lebanon and stated that Lebanon is part of the operational zone of Nusra due to Hezbollah’s involvement in supporting the Assad regime militarily in Syria.
Joulani also stated that the group does not receive financial aid from any government. However the 5 Dimensions team said “based on credible information we have received, whilst Nusra are not receiving direct government support from anyone they have received significant donations from fundraisers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, these have been in the high seven digits category since 2012.”
The 5 Dimensions team went on to say, “Of note the Islamic State of Iraq funded Nusra’s establishment until the split in mid 2013.”
Joulani went on to say that “Muslims love al-Qaeda and Nusra and they should and would help us financially”, a clear appeal for funding which should not have been broadcast.
Aimen Dean, an ex member of al-Qaeda and a British spy told SecurityMiddleEast.com that “Joulani’s appeal for more funds indicates that despite his claims of having internal self sufficiency through business generated within the large areas of Syria they control, Nusra is nowhere near financially capable to stand up against the IS which controls 50% of Syria (including 90% of Syria’s oilfields).”
The detail in this report has been provided to SecurityMiddleEast.com by 5 Dimension Consultants in Dubai and is a follow up to the article we published here: https://securitymiddleeast.com/2015/05/27/will-al-nusra-in-syria-announce-break-from-al-qaeda-tonight/