A new video has emerged showing a large crowd of supporters of the Syrian rebellion singing an apparent ode to the 9/11 attacks that celebrates Osama bin Laden as “America’s worst nightmare.”
The rebellion against the rule of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad enjoys the backing of the Obama administration, which recently recognized its political wing, the so-called Syrian National Coalition, as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Syrian people.
Moreover, if numerous reports in the mainstream media are to be believed, the administration’s support for the rebellion has gone beyond mere diplomatic or “moral” support and includes the provision of logistical aid to rebel forces. Reuters reported in August that President Obama had signed a secret order authorizing such support to be provided by the CIA and other American agencies.
While American support for the rebellion appears not to have included the direct provision of arms, according to reports in both The Washington Post and The New York Times, it has included the coordination of arms shipments underwritten by regional powers Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The administration has publicly admitted to providing around $50 million in “non-lethal” aid to Syrian opposition groups.
According to both a date stamp on the video and writing on a piece of paper held up to the camera, the rally documented in the footage occurred on Dec. 14. The Arabic writing on the paper identifies the place as Yabroud, a Syrian city some 50 miles to the north of the capital Damascus.
The writing on the paper further declares, “No to the American intervention. We are all Jabhat al-Nusra.”
The motto refers to the Al-Nusra Front: a powerful rebel group that late last year was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. The designation, more specifically, treats Jabhat al-Nusra as an offshoot of al-Qaida in Iraq: the Iraqi al-Qaida affiliate that spearheaded an insurrection against American troops and their Iraqi government allies and that gained notoriety for its gruesome executions of American and other hostages.
The designation was made public on Dec. 10, sparking protests from numerous Syrian opposition groups and a call for rallies to be held the following Friday under the motto, “No to the American intervention. We are all Jabhat al-Nusra.”
A banner that is held up by members of the crowd in the Yabroud video likewise features the motto.
The crowd is taken through its paces by a chant-leader wearing a black headband with the shahada or Islamic declaration of faith printed on it. Members of the crowd can be seen waving both the black flag of jihad and the green, white and black flag of the Syrian rebellion.
According to English sub-titles added to the video by the Facebook page SyrianRebelWatch, the crowd sings about the twin towers of the World Trade Center disappearing in the “blink of an eye” and concludes “how sweet is the memory.”
The next line of the song celebrates Osama bin Laden as “America’s worst nightmare,” who fought with the “power of our faith” and “our weapon the PK machine gun.”
As the words “Osama bin Laden” are uttered, a cheer goes up throughout the crowd. The song continues, “If they call me a terrorist, I will consider it an honor.”
Although recently re-posted with the subtitles by SyrianRebelWatch, the video was originally posted on the very day of the rally by YouTube user “Yabroud Direct.”
Yabroud Direct links in turn to the clearly pro-rebellion websites Yabroud Revolution and YabCoordination. The piece of paper held up in the video likewise mentions the “Coordination of the Town of Yabroud,” apparently a reference to the local organizers of the rally.
Yabroud Direct has also posted several other videos of the December 14 rally. One of these videos even includes a series of messages in both Arabic and English, which are held up to the camera on small pieces of paper.
The first message reads “Our way is al-Jihad, Our Demand is Islamic Polity.” Another asks, “Secular America: Are you afraid from [sic] Islam?” A third declares, “All of the World should know: Our ISLAM is Red Line.”
While stigmatizing Jabhat al-Nusra, the Obama administration has sought to depict the terror group as somehow alien to the Syrian rebellion as such, which it continues to support.
Thus, commenting on the designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as a terror organization,
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland dismissed the group as “an attempt by AQI [Al-Qaida in Iraq] to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes.”
“The violent, sectarian vision of al-Nusrah is at odds with the aspirations of the Syrian people,” Nuland continued, “including the overwhelming majority of the Syrian opposition, who seek a free, democratic, and inclusive Syria.”
But the outpourings of support for Jabhat al-Nusra in the aftermath of the designation belie the state department’s assurances in this regard.
As the motto “We are all Jabhat al-Nusra” makes clear, actual partisans of the rebellion in Syria reject the distinction made by the administration and openly embrace the al-Qaida affiliate.
Unless otherwise noted, translations from Arabic by Maureen Millington-Brodie.