A report, titled Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment, was published Monday by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, pointing out that the use of terrorists to destabilize and dismantle the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus will provide the al-Qaeda a second wind, a new life. The civil war in Syria may provide al-Qaeda with a chance to regroup, train, and plan operations, much as the U.S. invasion of Iraq revitalized the network and gave it new relevance. Returning foreign fighters from the war in Syria may destabilize the region, or they might try to conduct attacks in the West. Sunni-Shia tensions are rising across the region, the report pointed out in its Executive Summary.
What, however, the report did not point out, is that al-Qaeda, which is on the grow in Syria, was re-grouped by Saudi money and British and American blessings. In fact, in January 2013, a leaked memo showed that Saudi officials had commuted the sentences of 1,200 death-row inmates on the condition that they join the rebels and fight against al-Assad in Syria, according to the Assyrian International News Agency. The memo read: We have reached an agreement with them that they will be exempted from the death sentence and given a monthly salary to their families and loved ones, who will be prevented from traveling outside Saudi Arabia in return for rehabilitation of the accused and their training in order to send them to jihad in Syria.
The report said foreign fighters hardened in that conflict could eventually destabilize the region or band together to plot attacks against the West.