On September 24 it seemed like a new major Islamic coalition was announced on all kind of social media. The leader of Liwa at-Tawhid appeared in a video, speaking for eleven other groups, declared they denounced the Syrian National Council and stated the insurgency in Syria was to be based on Islamic Law.
Here is the video:
Apart from this video a scanned copy of “Statement number one”, signed by representatives from the thirteen groups was released:
The groups who signed the statement are:
- Jabhat an-Nusra
- Harakat Ahrar as-Sham al-Islamiyya
- Liwa at-Tawhid
- Liwa al-Islam
- Suqur al-Sham
- Harakat Fajr as-Sham al-Islamiyya
- Harakat an-Nur al-Islamiyya
- Kata’ib Nur ad-Din az-Zinki
- Tajamu Fa Istaqam Kamr Umrat
- al-Firqat at-Tasiyya ‘ashr
- Liwa al-Ansar
Translation of the statement:
In the name of God, the most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the world, Prayer and peace be upon Prophet Mohammad
God Says ” If you support God, he supports you and stabilize your feet”
About the coalition and assumed government.
The armed, fighting factions and groups gathered, discussed and concluded the following :
1. The said groups invite all military and civil groups to unify within a clear Islamic frame created on an Islamic power based upon Sharia arbitration and make it the sole source of legislation.
2. These groups consider that, only those who suffered and sacrified on ground hold, have the right to represent their faithful sons.
3. These groups consider that, any outside formations, without reviewing the public opinion, can not represent them and have their recognition. Hence, the coalition and the assumed government headed by Ahmad Tu’ma do not represent them and do not have their recognition .
4. These groups and factions invite all military and civil groups to unify their word, to reject discrimination , and to prioritize the Umma’s favor over the common favor.
The statement itself can be regarded as strong condemnation of the Syrian Nationcal Council and it’s military branch the SMC. Weird enough some of the groups signing the statement are part of the SMC. In the graph below you can see how the groups are alligned.
Another observation to be noted is that ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and as-Sham, is not included in the coalition. This led to all kinds of speculation about the alliance between Jabhat an-Nusra and ISIS. Soon enough the picture below appeared, clearly stating that Jabhat an-Nusra and ISIS are “hand in hand” as it says.
In another version the text was released showing only ten logo’s of groups involved (see below)
Some people reacted extatic, especially supporters of the Islamic Caliphate in Syria saw this statement as the formal creation of new nation-wide Islamic coalition, the next step on to declaring an Islamic Caliphate in Syria.
Others like Aron Lund, Michael Weiss and Charles Lister reacted a bit more sceptical. Here are the texts by these analysts:
- Aron Lund: http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/major-rebel-factions-drop-exiles-go-full-islamist/
- Michael Weiss: https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/islamists-assemble
- Charles Lister: http://beta.syriadeeply.org/op-eds/syrian-militant-islamists-denounce-snc-form-islamic-alliance/#.UkbhtX9_Tpe
Especially the text by Michael Weiss suffered from opposition from all directions; whilst he basically was wondering whether the alliance would hold since it was a weird mix up from ultra Islamists like Jabhat an-Nusra and for example Suqur as-Sham.
Then, on Friday September 27, the official Twitter-account of Jabhat an-Nusra renounced there even was a formal coalition in the following seven tweets.
جبهة النصرة (@JbhtAnNusrah)#جبهة_النصرة: توضيح حول بيان “رفض الإئتلاف ومشروع الحكومة المؤقتة” جبهة النصرة (@JbhtAnNusrah)#جبهة_النصرة: لم يكن بيان “رفض الإئتلاف ومشروع الحكومة المؤقتة” سوى مجرد رفض للائتلاف ومشروع الحكومة المؤقتة ولم يكن تحالفاً. جبهة النصرة (@JbhtAnNusrah)وإنّ هذا الرفض هو مسلمات عقيدة ومنهج #جبهة_النصرة “أعزها الله”، ولم تُراجع القيادة العامة بذلك، حيث قام أحد الإخوة الأفاضل بالتوقيع عليه. جبهة النصرة (@JbhtAnNusrah)#جبهة_النصرة:
ننوه: أن أي حلف أو اتفاق يعقد على مستوى الجماعة مع أي فصيل جهادي في الساحة يصدر عن مؤسسة المنارة البيضاء عبر قنواتها الرسمية.
جبهة النصرة (@JbhtAnNusrah)#جبهة_النصرة:
كما نحذر أيضاً من محاولة بعض الأطراف في الساحة استثمار الخلاف الدائر بيننا وبين إخواننا في جماعة “الدولة الإسلامية”.
جبهة النصرة (@JbhtAnNusrah)وأيما خلاف بيننا سيعرض على الشرع الحكيم للتحاكم إليه، وننصح جميع الأطراف بمراعاة التحديات التي تمر بها الساحة من مكر المجتمع الدولي،
So, even though it seems there is no real new Islamist coalition in Syria, the denouncement of SMC is still pretty strong. The main question remains how this will influence insurgency in Syria; it would seem a new phase in the war has been reached.