Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Barry Strauss, chair of the Department of History at Cornell University and an author of 11 books on military history, comments on the reported presence of Al-Qaeda insurgents fighting in the Syrian revolution.
“Truth is always the first casualty in revolutions. The various parties all use information as a weapon, so it’s always best to take reports from the front with a grain of salt. Al-Qaeda’s alleged role in the Syrian revolt is a case in point.
“There is indeed evidence of Al-Qaeda playing a role, and sowing its trademark seeds of terrorism. Western intelligence agencies, including America’s, have expressed concern. They need to keep a close eye on this and wherever possible, to act against Al-Qaeda.
“But how much and how serious a role Al-Qaeda plays in Syria remain questions. The opposition to Assad represents various groups with diverse and often diverging agendas. Neither Syrian liberals or Syrian Kurds, nor such outside supporters of the revolt such as Turkey or Saudi Arabia, would cooperate with Al-Qaeda.
“By the same token, both the Assad regime and Iraqi government would benefit from painting the rebels as Al-Qaeda, so their accusations must be taken cautiously. The same goes for Al-Qaeda’s own claims, which might be exaggerated.”
For interviews contact:
Contact Syl Kacapyr for information about Cornell's TV and radio studios.