As Islamists increasingly fill the ranks of Syrian rebels, President Bashar al-Assad is waging an energized campaign to persuade the United States that it is on the wrong side of the war
“If the Syrian regime falls, al Qaeda wins.” That’s what Bashar al-Assad wants US officials to believe: By playing off US fears of Islamic terrorism, he’s hoping America will shift its support from the Syrian rebels to the incumbent regime, or at least withhold providing any more material support for the rebels. Because at least one rebel faction is allied with al Qaeda, it’s not an altogether crazy strategy. The regime is reportedly relying on Khaled Mahjoub, a Syrian-American businessman, to relay this message to US officials. “We are partners in fighting terrorism,” said Wael Nader al-Halqi, Syria’s prime minister.