Al-Nusra Front, Saudi branch to Al-Qaeda, has been removed from American Terror watchlist.
Al-Nusra Front, Saudi branch to Al-Qaeda, has been removed from American Terror watchlist. In another step to close Saudis, their citizens will be able to Carry electronic devices in US planes.
The list of terrorist groups in the United States has always been a controversial issue due to addition and removal of certain groups and countries in different years. In a recent change, the name of the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda has been removed from the list.
Jabhat Al-Nusra, or Al-Nusra Front, has been removed from the list of terrorist groups in the US amid the tension in Syria. Al-Nusra which has recently changed it official name is considered one of the main Anti-Assad groups giving rise to a major part of tensions and riots in Syria. The group is also considered responsible for a significant portion of civilian causalities in Syria by attacking cities and, directly or indirectly, giving aides to ISIS militants.
The US terror watchlist has proved untrustworthy as it is obvious that the change of the name of a group will not affect its nature or function. Al-Nusra changed its official name to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in a step to rebrand its functioning while no modification has been made in its strategies or ideologies.
The removal of HTS from US terror watchlist has other implications too. The US and its allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Israel, will be able to support Al-Qaeda with financial and military assistance more easily. Saudi Arabia, which is the home to Al-Qaeda and the founding father of the group, will transfer arms more easily from now on while these supports has never been halted by the monarchy.
In a talk with CBC, Nicole Thompson of the U.S. State Department claims to be studying the issue after the removal.
We believe these actions are an al-Qaeda play to bring as much of the Syrian opposition under its operational control as possible, […] we are still studying the issue carefully,” Thompson said. The group has always been considered a “moderate group” by the US officials.
Al-Nusra commanders has previously acknowledged receiving military supports from the US. While the group was put in terror watchlist in 2012, Abu Al Ezz, an Al-Nusra commander said in 2016 that when the group was “besieged, we had officers from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and America here…Experts in the use of satellites, rockets, reconnaissance and thermal security cameras.”
The US-led coalition air strike, while killing thousands of civilians, has always avoided Al-Nusra positions. This is why the group commanders believe that “the Americans are on our side.”
The US has also ceased the ban of carrying Laptops and other electronic gadgets by Saudi citizens in American flights. The rule had been ordained as a step to control the terrorist groups in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has had role in multiple terrorist attacks in the US, the most prominent of which being 9/11 attacks. 15 out of the 19 attackers in New York were citizens of Saudi Arabia.
The father and son, Saudi Arabia and Al-Nusra, or Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, were seemingly acquitted by the Americans from all their terrors inside and outside the US.