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Jabhat al-Nusra Is Growing Menace To Mideast and Beyond

Bruce Riedel warns that Jabhat al-Nusra is the world’s fastest-growing al-Qaeda franchise and a threat to the entire region.
Members of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra take their position on the front line during a fight with Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad in Aleppo December 24, 2012. Syria special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi discussed solving the country's conflict with President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, but the opposition expressed deepening frustration with the mission following what it called the latest massacre of civilians. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR

As the Syrian civil war gets ever more violent and destructive, there is a big beneficiary: al-Qaeda and its franchise in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra — which is now the fastest-growing al-Qaeda front in the world, attracting fighters from across the Islamic world. Today it's focused on destroying the Bashar al-Assad regime but its ultimate goals are much bigger, attacking America and its allies in the heart of the Middle East.

The Syrian franchise gets crucial support from the al-Qaeda core in Pakistan. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri issued a public call in February 2012 in which he urged “every Muslim and every free and honest person in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to rise and help their brothers in Syria with everything they have and can do.”

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