"Jabhat al-Nusra’s growing visibility on the streets of Syrian cities highlights one of the reasons the United States and its allies have been reluctant to arm Syrian rebels even as Obama administration officials repeatedly insist that Assad must go. Fears are widespread among Western governments that weapons sent to the rebels could wind up in the hands of extremists and be turned against their benefactors in a region already taut with sectarian and geopolitical rivalries.
In an interview at the mosque that serves as his headquarters in the Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Jabhat al-Nusra commander Abu Ibrahim said he has 300 men under his control. About 50 of his fighters were seen milling around the mosque, many wearing the baggy, calf-length pants and long beards associated with devout Islamists. Others were inside." Washpost
The rebels have been dominated by Sunni jihadis from the beginning of the civil war. Their influence has now become so evident that not even the Washington Post can ignore it. pl
"Given some of the other moves that Morsi and those around him have made, there is reason to be concerned. Morsi has appointed a new minister of information, Salah Abdul Maqsud; he, too, comes from the Muslim Brotherhood and actively supports the move to replace 50 leading editors and journalists. Charges have been filed against the editor of the independent opposition newspaperal-Dustour for insulting the president. It is probably no accident that the state media’s tone has changed markedly in the past week — and is far more favorable toward Morsi." Dennis Ross
You heard it here first. pl