A Syrian opposition group tied to al-Qaida has issued a threatening statement against the United States two weeks after the U.S. Treasury Department designated its leaders as terrorists.
A statement published on a jihadist website from Abu Mohammad Tahawi, a leading Jordanian Salafi jihadist who often trumpets the Nusrah Front in Syria, taunts the United States and President Obama and promises bloodshed.
The Nusrah Front "placed you long ago on the terrorism blacklist based on injustice, tyranny and vanquishing people," Tahawi wrote. "They have made a pledge for themselves to obey the oath of Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] … and you will not know a pleasant life, nor quiet and happy sleep until you return to your homes, with bowed heads, weary, miserable; and you pay them the Jizya (tax on non-Muslims), and are humbled ."
It invokes the treatment of American Indians, the use of atomic bombs in Japan during World War II and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That history places the United States "at the top of the list of terrorists targeted for the fire of our weapons, and the fire of our weapons will not be extinguished upon until you the fire you until you are kept from your intent, your evil, your pride and your injustice, and Right is restored to its people and you return across the seas where you come from," Tahawi wrote.
In a statement, the Treasury Department said its Dec. 11 action was an attempt "to deny al-Qa'ida's attempts to subvert the Syrian opposition." Al-Nusrah has tried "exploit the instability inside Syria for its own purposes, using tactics and espousing an ideology drawn from AQI [al-Qaida in Iraq] that the Syrian people broadly reject. Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed responsibility for nearly 600 terrorist attacks, killing and wounding hundreds of Syrians. These activities are attempts by AQI to hijack the struggles of the legitimate Syrian opposition to further its own extremist ideology."
Tahawi's statement treats the U.S. action as a declaration of war:
The land of Greater Syrian awaits you with great suspense for your hearts to be roasted in a sea of hot coals, for your fat to melt, and your meat to be grilled; today you will no longer be able to manage a single battle much less several battles. This is by the Grace of God, then by the grace of the soldiers of Osama who will frighten you and paralyze your thinking; come to the land of Greater Syria, if you be you men or if there is in you the remains of rest manhood. Ah, why are you reluctant to come Oh, Obama? Perhaps you remember the tragedies of your friend Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the bad luck you inherited still bears the burden of its consequences.
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's grip on power is seen as weakening dramatically. Reports indicate the United States is considering intervention to stop Syria's chemical weapons arsenal from falling into the hands of terrorists.