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February 20, 2012

Is Al-Qaida in Syria?

Understanding the Context of Recent U.S. Intelligence Assessments

Michael Weiss

In the last fortnight there has been a growing media interest in whether or not al-Qaida is in Syria and may have carried out two terrorist attacks in Damascus and a more recent one in Aleppo. First an article appeared in McClatchy newspapers quoting anonymous US officials who suggest that two bombings in Damascus — one on December 23, 2011, the other on January 6, 2012 — were carried out by al-Qaida agents who had infiltrated Syria via Iraq and acted on direct orders from al-Qaida commander Ayman al-Zawahiri himself. Today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress that these Syrian attenats bore “all the earmarks [sic] of an al-Qaida-like attack.”

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Michael Weiss

About Michael Weiss

A widely published journalist, Weiss has expertise in the Israel-Palestine conflict and human rights in the Middle East. He recently wrote HJS's Media Briefing: "Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation: A Preliminary Assessment". Weiss has been published in Slate, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The New Criterion, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Prospect, Standpoint, Democratiya and The New Republic. He keeps a regular blog on foreign policy and the Middle East for the Daily Telegraph and one on culture for The New Criterion.

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