Anyone who is not affiliated with the ISIS are 'moderates' is a statement that gives room for all of us to believe that that there is a good chance of the al Qaeda being re-branded.
The statement by Director of National Intelligence (US), James Clapper stating that all those not part of the ISIS are moderates gives one room to believe that several terrorist outfits such as the Taliban and the al Qaeda are being rebranded.
Good Taliban and now Good al Qaeda
The United States decided to launch attacks against the ISIS in Syria and Iraq. However the battle was harder than what they may have thought it to be.
The US does not enjoy the ideological, logistic or local support that the ISIS enjoys in the region which makes the battle extremely difficult.
It roped in the Hazm Movement, the US-armed moderate rebel faction in Syria. The US armed members of the Hazm movement, but they failed to do the job. What the US realized that an al Qaeda stood a better chance of fighting the ISIS.
Pentagon realizes that there is a need to create a moderate force in Syria, arm them in order to battle the ISIS. The moderate force would have an advantage over the US army as they would involve local fighters.
The US and Pakistan faced a similar problem in Afghanistan as well. Surprisingly Mullah Omar became the good man leading the good Taliban against the evil Tehrik-e-Taliban and the just created Afghan ISIS group called the Al-Khorasan.
The US looks for a similar strategy in Syria as well and who better than the al Qaeda to be part of the moderate armed team of the Al-Qaeda.
Enter Jabhat al-Nusra
James Clapper said that arming moderate forces is a problem due to international laws. The US and the world have banned the Al-Qaeda and they cannot lift the ban at any cost.
For the US to create a moderate force it would need an outfit which is banned so that arming them could be justified. The creation of a new outfit is not feasible as the question of acceptability among the locals would be difficult.
Who better than the al Qaeda for the job? The Jabhat is the al Qaeda. In fact the al Qaeda uses the name Jabhat in its Syria battle. The Jabhat is not banned and hence arming them would look like a justified action against the evil ISIS for the US.
Who will bell the Jabhat?
The Jabhat however is not easy to rope in. They do not trust the US especially after their members were killed in air strikes. The US however said that these air strikes were really meant to target the ISIS and not them.
The US has roped in Qatar to bell the Jabhat now. Qatar has been luring the Jabhat under and telling its leaders to turn into the moderate force as this would help them rope in more funds and also avoid any international ban.
The Jabhat which has been taking a beating at the hands of the ISIS appears to have bitten the bullet which indicates that it is willing to rebrand itself as the moderate force.
In the long run the top leadership of the al Qaeda which has been resisting the US may be distanced. There is also a good chance of the al Qaeda leadership becoming irrelevant in the near future.
The al Qaeda is already reeling under a severe crisis for the want of a strong leader post Osama Bin Laden. Moreover the creations of several factions which have not been subseverent to the al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri has only added to the woes of the terrorist group.