According to The Daily Beast, General David Petraeus (ex-director of the CIA and current chief analyst for the KKR investment fund) is attempting to convince the Obama administration to recycle elements of Al-Qaïda to fight Daesh [1].

The online news outlet interprets this proposition as the continuation of what General Petraeus had already done in Iraq in 2007 : in order to combat the Sunni rebellion, he engaged its young supporters, including members of al-Qaïda.

In an interview with CNN, David Petraeus revealed his true motives. According to him, « … we must not try to use or co-opt the al-Nusra Front, an arm of Al-Qaïda in Syria, as an anti-Daesh organisation. But certain combatants, on an individual basis, and perhaps even certain elements of al-Nusra today have no doubt joined this fight for reasons which are opportunist rather than ideological : they saw al-Nusra as a strong force, and could see no credible alternative, because the moderate opposition does not yet have sufficient resources. The question, then, is to know if it could be possible to dissociate those who are ready to abandon al-Nusra and join the ranks of the moderate opposition (supported by the United States and the international Coalition) to fight at the same time against al-Nusra, Daesh, and Assad. » [2]

As we might suspect, General Petraeus’ proposition has no connection with the situation in Iraq in 2007, because that plan aimed to apply a strategy of counter-insurrection to the overthrow of a régime. In his CNN interview, he is in fact proposing to recuperate « on an individual basis » the terrorists of al-Qaïda to fight the Syrian Arab Republic.

Pete Kimberley

[1Petraeus : Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS”, Shane Harris & Nancy A. Youssef, The Daily Beast, 3rd August, 2015.