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US, Saudis consider partnering with Al-Qaeda ally

AlQaedaAllyFP

The ultimate Orwellism? Screenshot of the title of Foreign Policy’s report quoted below.

Sputnik International reports:

The world’s major powers plan to convene in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks on the establishment of a ‘Syrian opposition’, which will negotiate with President Assad on the creation of a transition government. However, the participants must sort out which factions should be labelled terrorists and which should be seen as the legitimate opposition.

 “Sorting out who is a terrorist and who is a legitimate member of the anti-government opposition in Syria among the myriad armed groups is a primary focus of the international effort to end a civil war that has lasted nearly five years, killed more than 250,000 Syrians, and fueled the rise of extremism,” says the Washington-based magazine Foreign Policy.

“While there is broad agreement that the Islamic State (also known as Daesh) will be excluded from political talks, the key international players — including Russia, Iran, the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia — have widely divergent views on which groups should be included,” it adds.

The magazine also acknowledged that another jihadist group, “Syria’s most prominent al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front”, has already been “designated as terrorist group by the UN Security Council.”The most heated debates are now around the Ahrar al-Sham, a close ally of al-Nusra Front and a member of an alliance, named Jund al Malahim (“Soldiers of the Epics”), the latest in a series of jihadist-led coalitions.

Saudi Arabia has invited the group to Riyadh in an attempt to legitimize it as a possible player in the transition government. However Russia insists that it should be added to the list of terrorist organizations on the ground.

Meanwhile, the US “has stopped short of blocking Ahrar al-Sham from the peace talks but has voiced concerns over its links to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria,” the magazine says.

“The United States has previously expressed concerns about Ahrar al-Sham’s links to al-Nusra Front. But it has never designated the group as a terrorist organization, leaving the door open for possible cooperation in the future,” the outlet adds.

“Recently, Washington has been more willing to explore the possibility of a role for Ahrar al-Sham — as long as it backs international efforts to reach a political settlement with the Syrian government, according to diplomats tracking the process.” […]