With the rise of ISIS and its battlefield successes in Syria, major media in the English-speaking world has been for some time now trying to rehabilitate the image of non-ISIS Al-Qaeda groups in Syria. The schism between the two most powerful Qaeda linked factions in Syria – ISIS and Nusra Front, has resulted in ISIS being generally branded “more extreme than Al-Qaeda” and Nusra as “moderate and not-so-bad Al-Qaeda.” This because Nusra and other Al-Qaeda oriented groups within the recently formed “Islamic Front” are increasingly working as closer allies to America’s officially backed FSA. With the FSA becoming irrelevant over the past few months, Nusra and IF, once sold as “extremists” by major media, are undergoing an image change as they are now the indirect recipients of U.S. and NATO aid. The Islamic Front will soon become the direct beneficiary of western aid, and an apathetic western public is now being prepared for this. Even the Israeli public is being prepped for a more out in the open Israeli (through intel ops) alliance with Al-Qaeda groups inside Syria. See one of Israel’s top daily newspapers – HAARETZ – speak in openly sympathetic terms of Al-Qaeda groups in Syria, even going so far as to defend beheadings of civilians (emphasis LR’s):
The power struggles between the two radical groups that have seized partial control of some Syrian towns and villages is forcing the Free Syrian Army to take a stand. The paradoxical result is that the Al-Qaida stand-in – Al-Nusra – is now considered a more desirable ally of the rebels than ISIS because it relies largely on Syrian support, while ISIS has recruited many volunteers from Arab and Western countries.
Al-Nusra has also been “kinder” to civilians. True the group’s militants decapitated civilians suspected of supporting the Syrian regime, but it also is better at keeping order and maintaining the food supply to the civilians under its control. In addition, Al-Nusra and the Islamic Front – an umbrella organization for several Islamist groups – are currently cooperating in an effort to created a united front against ISIS.
For its part, the Islamic Front is also an ally of the FSA and is considered a “moderate organization” with which the American administration can negotiate in order to build a more significant military coalition that will strengthen the rebels.