Jaish Al-Islam: The Saudi funded al Qaeda ally

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It is a well known fact that the war at Yemen in which Saudi Arabia is taking part has done a world of good for the al Qaeda.

The Saudi airforce which has bombarded strong holds of the Shia Houthi rebels have turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the al Qaeda which has been quick in capturing the ground which the Houthis once held.


Next stop Syria. The al Qaeda has lost considerable ground in Syria to the ISIS. For the Saudis the ISIS gaining a strong hold is not good news at all and the country would prefer an al Qaeda dominance and the bond between the two go back to the 9/11 days.

The birth of the Jaish Al-Islam

The Jaish Al-Islam means the Army of Islam. It has been seen indulging in some activity in Syria. Reports collected by the various Intelligence agencies suggest that this would go on to become a proxy for the Al-Qaeda and is under the complete control of Saudi Arabia.

This group was in fact operating in a small manner under the banner of the Liwa al-Islam. However with the support of the Saudis and also the al Qaeda in Syria it has managed to bring together several rebel groups which have been fighting both against the Syrian regime and also the ISIS.

Its strong hold is in Douma and Ghouta and is headed by Zahran Alloush who is the son of prominent Saudi based religious scholar Abdullah Mohammad Alloush.

It is interesting how the Saudis capitalized on the Abdullah Aloush. He was in prison at Syria for Salafi activism and once he was released the Saudis ensured that his group was back in action. Zahran Alloush who was running this group when his father was in jail is officially the head of the outfit today.

How does this help the al Qaeda?

The al Qaeda if one notices has been covering up some lost ground in Syria. They were on the retreat once the ISIS took centre stage. The ISIS has primarily been fighting and winning territory on the basis of the sheer strength that they have.

However the al Qaeda with the able assistance of Saudi and this newly formed group Jaish Al-Islam has managed to take on the ISIS and regain lost territory.

Syria is strategically important for any group. The ISIS has often spoken about the importance of Syria. They feel that it is only once the take over of Syria is completed will the next journey to fight the Vatican begin.
This in fact has caught the imagination of several fighters who have joined the ISIS in large numbers.

However the Saudis and the al Qaeda have realized that it is too late in the day to play these ideological games and the only way to beat down the ISIS is through brute strength.

The ISIS plot

Recently 93 persons owing allegiance to the ISIS were arrested in Saudi Arabia in what was called the big Saudi plot. The idea was to target the American installations such as their embassy in Saudi Arabia.

The ISIS was clear that it did not like the Saudi-American coalition and especially not in Yemen where it indirectly helped their arch rival the al Qaeda.

The Saudis would want the al Qaeda to become resurgent at any cost now. The ISIS is beyond control and hardly relies on any country for support. This would mean that they could operate independently.

In such a scenario a group such as the al Qaeda considered today to be the Good terrorists is a better bet for the Saudis.

The Saudis feel that nurturing the al Qaeda would not only help their cause in Yemen and Syria, but in the days to come take over Iraq as well and then target Iran in the long run.

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