Profiling Jabhat al-Nusra” (Charles Lister, Brookings Institution)

“Since mid-2014, the world’s attention has been predominantly transfixed on the more aesthetically shocking actions of ISIS and its immediate threat to international security. However, it is arguably Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria — and perhaps al-Qaida more broadly — that looks more likely to sustainably survive in order to threaten our long-term security. That the U.S. government issued a proposal in July 2016 to coordinate operations against Jabhat al-Nusra alongside the Russian military underlines the legitimate — though late — emergence of a sense of concern about the jihadi group’s rising stature in Syria. However, most importantly, it reveals how poorly the militant movement is understood. External intervention alone will do nothing but empower Jabhat al-Nusra’s increasingly accepted narrative within an already bitter Syrian opposition population that contributed 3,000 fighters to Jabhat al-Nusra’s ranks in northern Syria between February and June 2016.” Read all http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2016/07/27-nusra-front-profile-lister?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=%2AMideast%20Brief