By Aron Lund
See it in tweets here


This "Khorasan" thing is simply Jabhat al-Nosra & AQ, trying to leverage their Syria apparatus for international strikes. So business as usual, as far as AQ is concerned. US intel is understandably spooked, since it means some of JN's foreign fighters may now be siphoned off for hijackings and such, but many papers are getting it wrong, as if this were a new group on the ground, even on par with IS.

"Khorasan" would be a great name for a terror group, with nearly unlimited potential for ominous mispronounciation. Sadly, it is not. It's a word used by al-Qaeda (& others) for the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, where its top leadership sits. What has happened, if US intel is telling the truth, is that a group of AQ veterans have relocated to Syria to support AQ's local franchise, Jabhat al-Nosra, and (this is the newsworthy part) to develop its capacity for international attacks. All this, apparently, on the urging of AQ's core leadership. The "Khorasan group" thing comes from them being sent to Syria from "Khorasan" – that is, by AQ's leadership in Pakistan – and presumably taking their orders straight from there. It's not the name of a group and they're not an independent organization. As described in reports so far, they're a specialized working group inside or otherwise attached to Jabhat al-Nosra that seeks to use the training camps, resources & recruits that Jabhat al-Nosra controls in Syria to run global attacks for which AQ can then claim credit.