Policy makers in the United States have deep concerns about the prospective influence and military strength of al Qaeda affiliated rebel groups participating in the Syrian conflict. In light of these concerns, this article offers a tentative estimation of AQ-affiliates’ relative military strength in two years’ time.
After reviewing a variety of academic, journalistic, and government sources we have come to the conclusion that “al Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria will have greater military power (relative to other groups) than at present by the end of 2015.” The relative military power of AQ-affiliated groups (defined later) will increase due to enhanced capacities as well as decreases in the overall military efficacy of competing groups in the Syrian conflict such as the Free Syrian Army and the military forces associated with the Assad regime. Evidence supporting our conclusion falls into three general categories, including: (1) the relative effectiveness of military coordination between AQ-affiliated groups, (2) the extensive territorial “safe havens” held by AQ-affiliated groups, and (3) outside support in the form of weapons and recruits. ...Read more...
Lin, Aaron, and Daniel Smith, Ryan Pereira. 2013. "Discussion Point: The Prospective Military Power of Al Qaeda Affiliated Groups in the Syrian Conflict." December. http://www.start.umd.edu/start/announcements/announcement.asp?id=501