Islamic State Announces New Caliphate Provinces

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Aaron Y. Zelin - Last week, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, declared the creation of several new "provinces" in various Arab countries. He recognized the annexation of jihadist elements in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, along with groups in Algeria (Jund al-Khilafah), Libya (Majlis Shura Shabab al-Islam), and Sinai (Ansar Beit al-Maqdis). He ignored non-Arab factions based in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere that made similar pledges to him. Baghdadi made clear that it is time to start an overt military campaign against Shiites. He also emphasized the order of priority, stating that jihadists in Saudi Arabia and Yemen should first target Shiites (including the Houthis), then the Saudi dynasty, and then finally the "Crusaders." In doing so, the Islamic State illustrated its differences from al-Qaeda, which has historically given precedent to fighting the "Crusaders" first.

2014-11-17 00:00:00

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