"Al Qaeda's Iraq-based wing, which nurtured Nusra in the early stages of the rebellion against Assad, has moved in and sidelined the organization, Nusra sources and other rebels say. Al Qaeda in Iraq includes thousands of foreign fighters whose ultimate goal is not toppling Assad but the anti-Western jihad of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri - a shift which could extend Syria's conflict well beyond any political accord between Assad and his foes. The fighting has already cost 90,000 lives. The break-up of an important part of Syria's opposition, already splintered into hundreds of armed groups, worsens the dilemma faced by the West as it debates whether intervention to support the rebels will result in arms being placed in the hands of hostile Islamist militants. And the if the West were to intervene, it may now be under pressure to attack al Qaeda opposition forces rather than Assad "Nusra is now two Nusras. One that is pursuing al Qaeda's agenda of a greater Islamic nation, and another that is Syrian with a national agenda to help us fight Assad," said a senior rebel commander in Syria who has close ties to the Nusra Front. "It is disintegrating from within."" Reuters
"The Syrian opposition is demanding access to arms before planned peace talks next month, amid a growing consensus that it may take a shift in the balance of power on the battlefield before any meaningful negotiations can take place. Khalid Saleh, a spokesman for the Syrian Opposition Coalition, said Thursday that his group is pushing for “serious arming” of the rebels ahead of the U.S.- and Russian-backed negotiations. His comments come as European nations consider linking the lifting of an E.U. arms embargo to the talks. Graphic A look at the Syrian uprising nearly two years later. Thousands of Syrians have died and President Bashar al-Assad remains in power, despite numerous calls by the international community for him to step down. Latest stories on Syria Fueled by war in Syria, resurgent sectarianism tests Iraqi government Abigail Hauslohner MAY 16 Iraqi Sunnis say the prospect of a regional power shift has emboldened them to confront their government. As Syrian refugees settle into life in camps, Turkey seeks long-term help Kevin Sullivan MAY 15 With its Syrian refugee population set to double this year, Ankara wants to resettle some in U.S. and Europe. U.N. ‘strongly’ condemns Syrian government attacks on civilians Colum Lynch MAY 15 The vote pits the U.S. and Russia against each other as they try to start talks between the two sides. Video allegedly depicting atrocity by Syrian rebel revives worries about aid Loveday Morris MAY 14 Gruesome footage is released as Kerry warns Assad that the U.S. is ready to boost help for rebel forces. Obama, Cameron voice limited hope about fate of Syria conference Karen DeYoung MAY 13 News of the conference came amid a White House debate leaning sharply toward providing arms to the rebels. Syria’s rebels split into hundreds of groups, Red Cross officials says Tom Miles MAY 13 Syria’s rebels are fragmented into hundreds of armed groups that control swathes of the north. Turkey’s Erdogan to meet with Obama amid unusual public friction between countries Kevin Sullivan MAY 13 The prime minister wants the U.S. to take a more aggressive stance toward the Syria crisis. Syrian President Bashar al- Assad’s forces have made gains on the ground in recent weeks, closing in on the strategic western city of Qusair with the help of fighters from Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement. On Thursday, they repelled a rebel attack on a prison in the northern city of Aleppo. Analysts and diplomats say that those gains may dim the chance of the regime taking part in substantive talks and that the opposition needs to be strengthened. Meanwhile, the opposition has jumped at the opportunity to leverage its long-standing demand for arms." Washpost
The already effective jihadi Islamist domination of the "opposition" in Syria is here reported as shifting in the direction of direct AQII leadership of the movement. It should be understood that the agenda of the Islamist jihadis in Syria is not simply the removal of the present government. No, their agenda is for the abolition of the state of Syria as an impious western contrivance and its replacement by theocratic rule in the fom of religious rule which would revolutionize society as thoroughly as the Khmer Rouge sought to revolutionize Cambodia in a different cause.
At the same time it is now admitted by pro-"opposition" media and spokesmen that the "opposition" is losing ground in the war. This appears to be the result of; Syrian re-organization, increased training and use of Shabiha militias and the presence and assistance of Hizbullah, Iranian and Russian materiel and in some cases, advice. The BHO/Kerry team has proposed a conference on the war among the parties in order to facilitate the surrender of Assad's government. The rebel response is to demand that it be armed BEFORE they will agree to attend the conference. The BHO Administration may well agree to that since it favors the rebels.