A Salafist Principality
WASHINGTON In August 2012, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) mentioned a possible "Salafist Principality" in Eastern Syria and a possible foundation of an "Islamic State". german-foreign-policy.com documents excerpts from the DIA paper.
Department of Defense: Information report, not finally evaluated intelligence. 14-L-0552/DIA/287-293.
The general situation:
A. Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction.
B. The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
C. The West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey support the opposition, while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
3. Al Qaeda - Iraq (AQI):
A. AQI is familiar with Syria. AQI trained in Syria and then infiltrated into Iraq.
B. AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. AQI declared its opposition of Assad's government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.
5. The population living on the border:
A. The population living on the border has a social-tribal style, which is bound by strong tribal and familial marital ties.
B. Their sectarian affiliation unites the two sides when events happen in the region.
C. AQI had major pockets and bases on both sides of the border to facilitate the flow of materiel and recruits.
D. There was a regression of AQI in the western provinces of Iraq during the years of 2009 and 2010; however, after the rise of the insurgency in Syria, the religious and tribal powers in the regions began to sympathize with the sectarian uprising. This (sympathy) appeared in Friday prayer sermons, which called for volunteers to support the Sunnis in Syria.
8. The effects on Iraq:
C. If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
D. The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:
1. This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockes in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum uinder the presumtion of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
3. The renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi arena.