January 11, 2013

Jordan's Syria Problem

Nicolas Pelham, New York Review of Books

AP Photo

Jordanian officials like to distinguish between rebel forces in Syria comprised of tribal fighters and army defectors in the south, who they claim have been carefully vetted with western backing, and more radical fighters backed by Turkey advancing into Damascus from the north. But as the uprising in Syria takes on an increasingly sectarian cast, Jordan has become a crucial center for the Islamist opposition—fighters, regime defectors, and their supporters, who speak of replacing the secular-Alawite regime with a new government that brings a Sunni majority to power. More extremist groups, like Jabhat al-Nasra, an Al-Qaeda affiliate based in and around Aleppo that wants to establish a caliphate, have strengthened their numbers with Jordanian recruits in the south, and are fighting...

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TAGGED: Middle East, Syria, Jordan

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