Today, the CBC published a damning report on the refusal of the US State Dep to list Hay'at Tahrir el Sham, the latest creation of al Qaeda in Syria, as terrorist organization, and how Canada, following suit, could be unable to prosecute al Qaeda members in courts. The journalist who did the investigation states: "Canada currently does not list any active branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, the world's most important jihadi battleground."
Through the Twitter account @USEmbassySyria, US State Dep refuted the allegations of the CBC by showing a statement in Arabic (image above) by their envoy Michael Ratney.
I found that posting the statement only in Arabic is dubious. I read and translated the statement, below, and commented on it on my twitter account.
The statement is unsigned. It is written in a style close to jihadist rhetoric and zeal. It does not refute the allegations of the CBC investigation and it does not address the legal aspect of the absence of listing of HTS and it gives no proof for it. The absence of listing creates legal conundrum to prosecute HTS members in the US and Canada. This is of the utmost importance since al Qaeda has recently called its members to strike in West.
US Department of State, office of the special envoy for Syria, March 10, 2017.Statement of clarification on the position of the US regarding Hay’at Tahrir el-Sham & alQaeda in SyriaWe have long warned against the treachery of al Qaeda in Syria, its deception and its attempts to misguide Syrians and their revolution. We have followed and attended Jolani and his fanatics’ every attempt, even the lowly ones, to hide, uninvited, like parasites inside the body of the Syrian revolution to eat it from the inside. They have hidden themselves under layers of lies. They have pretended first that they came only to support ‘ahl-al-sham’ (people of Syria) in their victory. They later pretended, falsely, that their single goal is the ‘conquest of el-Sham). And now, in their most recent deception, they hide behind their new slogan : the ‘liberation of el-Sham’. This fanatic group was always the main cause behind our inability, we, the friends of the Syrian people, to fully support the revolution. But with every renaming and renewal of its face, al Qaeda is aiming less and less at the revolution it is trying to destroy, and more and more on its symbols. We have witnessed these agressions time and again to the point where their destructive operations have aimed at Harakat Ahrar el-Sham (darling of US) and others among the most ardent defenders of the revolution.In light of these latest developments, we want to clarify the following :The parent organisation of Hay’at Tahrir el-Sham (HTS) is Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) who is on the list of designated terrorist organisations. This classification is valid and neglects the renaming of this group or its merging with other groups.HTS is a merger and whoever merges with this group becomes part of al Qaeda in Syria, although HTS is not an operation HQ like Jaysh el Fath, and we will act according to this.The real power in HTS is in the hands of Abu Muhammad al Jolani who is responsible for their operations and his forever goal is the hijacking of the revolution. His means to arrive at this is to vanquish, which is to tyrannize. As for others like Abu Jaber (Shaykh), they are mere decorations playing only secondary roles.HTS has learned how to talk to moderates, but this is against the principles of al Qaeda. The heads of HTS are still clinching to al Qaeda’s means and goals and still obeying Zawahiri. Their denying this is a lie.HTS is unable to create facts on the ground to coerce us into collaborating with them. Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization we are determined to exterminate, and nothing can change this, no political bureau, no international mediation, and no other means of deception.Al Jolani and his fanatics want to dominate the opposition, like Baghdadi’s organization before them, and we will treat alQaeda in Syria the same way we are treating Daesh.They (HTS ?) will try to spin this statement by all means and accuse us of being crusaders who want to destroy all true & united Sunni oppositions, but these accusations are only agitation & verbosity. Did they forget what they did on 911 ? Did they forget all the crimes they have commited against us and other Muslims ?It is those who are in alQaeda organization which are our enemies, not Sunnis, not Muslims, not unity. And they disculpate their sins by considering our friends and allies in the ME, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and others who stood with the Syrian revolution as apostates, which is implausible and ridiculous.Don’t be deceived by these criminals determined to bring destruction to Syria and bring the Syrian opposition to commit suicide.Michael RatneyUS special envoy to Syria (unsigned)