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Syrian Airstrikes
Missile Struck "Khurasan Group" as It Plotted Attack

With all the talk of how ISIS may be worse than al-Qaeda, it’s worth remembering that one of the largest rebel groups in Syria is al-Qaeda. Moreover, the administration clearly believes that the “Khurasan Group” within the al-Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front is a direct threat to the United States. As the AP reports:

On the same night that U.S. and Arab allies carried out more than 200 airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, the U.S. on its own launched more than 20 Tomahawk cruise missiles and other ordinance against eight Khorasan Group targets near Aleppo in northwestern Syria, Pentagon officials said.

[…T]he Khorasan Group is a cell of al-Qaida veterans of wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the Nusra Front, the al-Qaida affiliate there. U.S. intelligence officials say the group has been working with bomb makers from al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate to perfect explosives that can fool Western airport security measures, including, one official said, a bomb in a toothpaste tube[….]

Briefing reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. William Mayville, who directs operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Khorasan Group was nearing “the execution phase of an attack either in Europe or the (U.S.) homeland.”

There’s conflicting discussion about the ability of that group to have actually carried out attacks, as well as their identity as separate from the Nusra Front and al-Qaeda. Nonetheless, a major strike at the leadership of this group, as well as administration reports and leaks about them, shows that this particular mutation of al-Qaeda is still very much trying to strike at the United States and Europe.

And if this plot was as advanced as the reports would have us believe, it just illustrates a point we’ve long tried to make on these pages: while intervening in the Syrian conflict would never be the tidy option, doing so earlier would have forestalled all sorts of unpleasant eventualities which would doubtless emerge if Assad’s civil war was allowed to fester. Not doing anything was a choice as much as intervention—and it carried its own consequences.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This is such BS, none of these groups have the resources to even fight in Syria without stealing from the western supplied so called moderates. ISIS and it’s affiliates aren’t the threat they are being made out to be, it is being blown way out of proportion by the press and politicians. ISIS captured weapons and equipment in Iraq, but modern warfare uses up material at an awesome rate, where is ISIS going to get resupplied? Enemies sit on all of ISIS’s supply lines, so even if it can pay for awhile with captured loot it will have to pay smugglers prices for everything including basic needs. I expect internal squabbling, theft, and desertion to crack ISIS like an egg in the near future.

    • Bruce

      It is interesting how the politicians have gotten worked up in a big hurry. You can understand why some people think that politicians create war hysteria to serve their own needs. It’s getting harder and harder not to agree with these people. This blog appears to have become hawkish as well. Will politicians lie to take us to war? The sociopathic pols will and there are probably more of them than we know.

      • Duperray

        True !

  • Anthony
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