Where Is Russia’s Strongman in the Coronavirus Crisis?
Putin Lets Local Leaders Take the Credit and the Fall
The market for extremism has been so disrupted by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and its penchant for extraordinary brutality that even a group as notorious as al Qaeda is now able to reposition—or, one might say, rebrand—itself. In Syria, al Qaeda has tried to paint itself as a more reasonable jihadist force with which other rebels on the ground and outside states can cooperate.
One indication of al Qaeda’s success in this regard is that its Syrian affiliate group, Jabhat al Nusra, now openly receives financial and other material support from major U.S. allies, an arrangement that would have been unthinkable four years ago. Al Nusra plays a critical role in Jaysh al Fatah, the rebel coalition fighting against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in northern Syria. Jaysh al Fatah, in turn, is backed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. (The United States