#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – June 02 – Nearly 13 years after the 9/11 attacks, many Americans were likely surprised to learn that one of their fellow citizens had committed suicide on behalf of al Qaeda in a massive bombing attack last week in northern Syria.
The American al Qaeda recruit’s name was Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, according to the U.S. State Department, and he grew up in Vero Beach, Florida, where he played high school football.
Abu-Salha, who was 22, is the first American suicide bomber in Syria, but he is not the first U.S. citizen to die in a suicide attack on behalf of an al Qaeda-affiliated group. In the past six years, at least three Americans have conducted suicide attacks in Somalia for Al-Shabaab, al Qaeda’s Somali affiliate.
It is cases like that of Abu-Salha that explain why senior U.S. counter-terrorism officials tell me that they are “all Syria, all the time.”
Insurgencies such as the one going on in Syria against the Bashar al-Assad regime can go on for many years.
Indeed, since World War II, the average insurgency has lasted at least a decade, according to an authoritative study by RAND.
The Syrian conflict is now only in its fourth year, so Syria could well prove an important training ground for foreign fighters for many years in the future. Also, al Qaeda-affiliated groups now control territory stretching from Aleppo in western Syria to Falluja in Iraq, 400 miles to the east.
This is a large safe haven for al Qaeda in the heart of the Middle East.
The fact that the Syrian conflict will likely go on for a long time, and that it is already providing a large safe haven to al Qaeda and like-minded groups, deeply worries U.S. administration officials.
And Syria, after all, is an issue that has entirely happened on the Obama administration’s watch, unlike Iraq or Afghanistan.
According to a senior U.S. intelligence official, Abu-Salha is one of around 100 Americans who have travelled to Syria or have tried to do so as the civil war there grinds on.
Not all of these Americans have joined al Qaeda — there are many factions fighting in Syria — but a number have done so.
Four other Americans have been publicly identified as having tried to join al Qaeda in Syria or have fought alongside the group, according to a count by the New America Foundation.
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1.Fox News – 31/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/px8htzh
2.Telegraph – 31/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/mzq6kwm
3.Rand Corp 31/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/ma2enbw
4.Bill Warner – 30/05/2014 – http://wp.me/pqsym-8bN