On Sunday the Islamic Front, Syria’s largest insurgent bloc, and four other factions issued a “Revolutionary Covenant” setting out principles for the fight against the Assad regime and the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham.
The Covenant promised respect for human rights and the pursuit of “a state of law, freedom, and justice, without any sort of pressure or dictatorship” for all Syrians, including ethnicities and minorities.
However, the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra is far from happy with the declaration.
Jabhat al-Nusra has issued a statement expressing “important reservations”. These include:
*”Lack of clarity, discipline and determination in the statement of principles”;
*Claiming a fight against “extremes” and “extremism” is not sufficient to establish the legitimacy of the ideas for insurgency;
*”It is not enough” to make religious references — principles have to be based on the Qur’an;
*It is legitimate to call for revenge and retaliation under Sharia law, rather than the Covenant’s assurance of a “fair trial” for leading figures in the Assad regime;
*The Covenant is too vague in its statement of cooperation with regional parties, some of whom may not be acceptable;
*The future of Syria must be an “Islamic State” — “We declare openly that we will not accept any civil state or democracy or any state not based on the rule of Sharia”
The Islamist faction derided the emphasis on nationalism above religious concepts:
Points three, five, six and eight [in the code of honor] all spread the spirit of civic-mindedness and belonging to land and the nation.
Everyone should be aware that the Islamic state we desire is one based on religion, belief and Shariah before anything else. … For us, Muslims cannot be equal to infidels.
Jabhat al-Nusra rejected any attempt to “swallow up or hide” the role of non-Syrians who have flocked to Syria to take part in military operations, as it accused the insurgent groups of bowing to foreign “pressures and diktats (which) are very obvious in the drafting” of the Covenant.
The statement concludes with a declaration that the Covenant’s signatories are “backtracking” and calls on them to “modify and adjust” their “Islamic projects”.