The Islamic State vs. Al-Qaeda

(Foreign Policy) J.M. Berger - The post-9/11 jihadi movement has split into two major groups - al-Qaeda and its declared affiliates, under the leadership of bin Laden and now Ayman al-Zawahiri - and everyone else. In the spring of 2014, Zawahiri disavowed the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) - at the time considered an al-Qaeda affiliate - essentially firing it for failing to follow his orders. A small but notable number of splinter groups from al-Qaeda and its affiliates have pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State. Yet very few establishment al-Qaeda supporters and clerics have come down in favor of the Islamic State. The Egyptian jihadi group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) is believed to have strong ties with the Islamic State. It recently mimicked one of the Islamic State's favorite practices, releasing a video featuring graphic decapitations of alleged Mossad spies. The Islamic State has a significant, possibly substantial, number of supporters in Gaza, including an armed brigade and key technology operatives who support the group's online presence. Since the declaration of the caliphate, online global financier networks supporting the Syrian jihad have displayed considerable hostility toward the Islamic State online, which was aggravated by the Islamic State's recent massacre of hundreds of Sunni tribesman in Syria. In other words, there are reasons for global jihadi supporters to hate the Islamic State other than blind loyalty to al-Qaeda.

2014-09-19 00:00:00

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