US should use al-Qaida forces to defeat ISIS, former CIA chief reportedly says

David Petraeus wants to use moderate members of Nusra in Syria to defeat hardline Islamist group, The Daily Beast reports.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 1, 2015 10:39
1 minute read.
Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front

Members of al-Qaida's‏ Nusra Front [File]. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Fourteen years after al-Qaida's September 11 attacks on the US, retired US army general and former Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus has been advocating the use of moderate members of al-Qaida's branch in Syria in order to fight ISIS, The Daily Beast reported on Tuesday.   

Petraeus, the former commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been "quietly urging US officials" to consider aligning with the so-called moderate members of Nusra Front in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast. 

Petraeus reportedly advocates "trying to cleave off less extreme Nusra fighters, who are battling ISIS in Syria, but who joined with Nusra because of their shared goal of overthrowing Syrian President Bashar Assad," according to those familiar with the general's thinking.   

Christopher Harmer, a senior naval analyst with the Middle East Security Project at the Washington, DC-based Institute for the Study of War, told The Daily Beast that Petraeus's recommendation is "an acknowledgment that the US stated goal to degrade and destroy ISIS is not working."

"If it were, we would not be talking to these not quite foreign terrorist groups,” Harmer said. 

“Strategically, it is desperate,” he added. 

Privately, US officials told The Daily Beast that any direct links with Nusra are off the table, but working with other factions, while difficult, might not be impossible.


“As prospects for Assad dim, opposition groups not already aligned with the US or our partners will face a choice,” one US intelligence official told The Daily Beast.

“Groups that try to cater to both hardliners and the West could find themselves without any friends, having distanced themselves from groups like al-Qaida but still viewed as extremists by the moderate opposition and their supporters,” the official said. 

US officials interviewed by the news outlet said that the idea that the US would, 14 years after the September 11 attacks, work with elements of al-Qaida’s Syrian branch "was an irony too tough to stomach for most."

According to the report, the officials found Petraeus’s plan "politically toxic, near-impossible to execute, and strategically risky."

Petraeus declined The Daily Beast's request for comment on his views. 

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Kelly Craft testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee
June 19, 2019
Trump's pick to replace Nikki Haley in UN pledges to follow in her footsteps

By OMRI NAHMIAS

Cookie Settings