Slava Novorossiya

Slava Novorossiya

Monday, June 29, 2015


                I will post two articles and two videos which speak of the difference and similarities between the two Jihadist Groups, Al Qaeda and ISIS.

ISIS vs. al Qaeda: The Jihadist Divide

We're getting to know just how different ISIS is from al Qaeda
Natasha Bertrand

Osama bin Laden’s personal letters and day-to-day correspondences — found by US special forces during a 2011 raid on his compound in Abbottabad — reveal a very different approach to waging jihad than that adopted by the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda in Iraq offshoot booted out for its excessive brutality.

There are several similarities between al-Qaeda starting with their ideological opposition to the West. Both also espouse an extremist narrative, but they differ significantly in their approach to violence, how they choose to capitalise on anti-Western sentiment, and their ultimate aims as terrorist organisations.

Unlike the self-proclaimed Islamic State, al Qaeda — led by bin Laden until his death in 2011 — was never overly concerned with the immediate formation of an Islamic caliphate.

Rather, al Qaeda has always portrayed itself more as a militant group comprised of highly trained operational masterminds whose successful attacks on America and Europe would ultimately gain them enough key followers to form a global movement of Muslims and detain the onslaught of the West.

“You should ask them to avoid insisting on the formation of an Islamic State at the time being, but to work on breaking the power of our main enemy by attacking the American embassies in the African embassies,” bin Laden wrote in a letter (presumably) to al Qaeda’s future operations chief, Atiyah Abd l-Rahman. “We should stress the importance of timing in establishing the Islamic State.”

Educated in the history of Islam and wary of how sectarianism could compromise his vision for an international jihadi movement (or a cohesive Islamic state), bin Laden urged his affiliates to focus on the real enemy, the US, and wage war only on American, Israeli, or European soil.

“Please remind the brothers in Somalia to be compassionate with the people and remind them of the Hadiths on this,” bin Laden wrote in 2007 to his operational commander, referring to al Qaeda’s blood-thirsty affiliate in Somalia. “Please talk to the Somali brothers about reducing the harm to Muslims at Bakarah Market [in Mogadishu, Somalia].”

The Islamic State — also known as ISIS, ISIL and, to the group’s disdain, “daesh” — has adopted virtually the opposite approach to consolidating power across the Middle East and beyond.

Whereas al Qaeda’s primary enemy has always been the United States, ISIS targets are much closer to home: Namely, apostate Shi’ite regimes such as Bashar Assad’s government in Syria and Haider al-Abadi’s in Iraq that impede the creation of a “pure”, radically sectarian Islamic state.

The stark contrast between Al Qaeda’s large scale, dramatic attacks and ISIS’ slow territorial conquest also reflects the differences between the two organisations’ ultimate goals: Whereas Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda viewed global jihad as more of a long game, ISIS wants a Muslim state, and it wants it now.

ISIS’ mastery of social media and online propaganda has given it the ability to recruit tens of thousands of young jihadists in a way that al Qaeda was never able to do with its written statements and bland, made-for-tv proselytizing.

Daniel Byman and Jennifer Williams said it best in Newsweek: “Which do you think is more likely to attract the attention of an 18-year-old boy dreaming of adventure and glory: a badass video with CGI flames and explosions, or a two-hour lecture on the Koran from a grey-haired old man?”

Al Qaeda cut ties with its Iraqi affiliate, al-Qaeda in Iraq, over worries that AQI’s excessive brutality might repel potential followers. Ironically, “the number of converts streaming to aid the Islamic State … is far greater than in any other modern conflict in the Islamic world,” the Washington Post noted earlier this month.

The ideological and strategic differences between al-Qaeda and ISIS are reflected in a 2005 letter from the current leader of al Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahiri to the now-deceased forefather of ISIS, Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, in which Zawahiri urges Zarqawi to foster unity among the Muslim masses in order to further solidify al Qaeda’s influence in Iraq.

“If we look at the two short-term goals, which are removing the Americans and establishing an Islamic emirate in Iraq, or a caliphate if possible,” Zawahiri writes, “then we will see that the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy – after the help and granting of success by God – is popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries.”

“As for the sectarian and chauvinistic factor, it is secondary in importance to outside aggression, and is much weaker than it,” Zawahiri continues.

In 2013, Zawahiri sent another letter — this time to the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — imploring him to end ISI’s ambition to become “ISIL” (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) and resolve its dispute with al-Nusra front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

In a June 2013 speech that cannot be authenticated, but has been widely attributed to al-Baghdadi, the ISI leader rebuked Zawahiri’s calls for reconciliation.

His words were foreboding:

“Rise, oh lions of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and cure the frustration of the believers and attack the hateful Rafidah [Shi’ites], the criminal Nusayris, the Party of Satan [Hezbollah] and those who come from Qum, Najaf and Tehran. Show us from them blood and body parts and tear them apart, for we have known them when we have met them to be cowards.”

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant remains as long as we have a pulse or an eye that blinks.”


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi contested al-Zawahiri's ruling and the group continued to operate in Syria. (AFP)

ISIS vs. Al Qaeda: The good news and the bad news
Published January 16, 2015

The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), has become a bitter rival of Al Qaeda, its parent organization. Its leaders represent a new generation of Islamist militants who have broken with Al Qaeda in a power struggle over Syria and the future of the global Islamist revolution.

Both groups share the same ultimate goal: the establishment of a global caliphate, to be ruled under a harsh brand of sharia (Islamic law). But they clash over what strategy and tactics are best, as well as who should lead the global jihad (holy war) to build the caliphate.

Al Qaeda today is a far different organization than it was during Usama bin Laden’s heyday. The network is more decentralized and far-flung. Its expansion was fueled, in part, by absorbing other Sunni Islamist extremist groups.  

Al Qaeda and ISIS increasingly are competing for recruits, funding and leadership of the global Islamist revolution.

One of these groups was led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Palestinian Islamist extremist born in Jordan—one of the estimated 25,000 foreign Muslims who flocked to Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion to fight the Soviet and Afghan communists. Zarqawi was a close associate of Osama bin Laden, although he did not formally join Al Qaeda until 2004 when he was recognized as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006. Subsequently, his organization was decimated by a U.S.-led counterterrorism campaign after many Sunni Iraqis revolted against its brutal tactics. But the group made a comeback in Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. The absence of U.S. troops took the pressure off the organization. Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shia-dominated government alienated Sunni Iraqis, driving many of them to see ISIS as the lesser evil.

The 2011 outbreak of civil war in Syria presented Al Qaeda in Iraq with an opportunity to fill a vacuum in a failed state.  It expanded operations into Syria, rebranding itself as ISIS.  It proclaimed itself to be the champion of Syria’s Sunni Arab majority against the Assad regime, a secular dictatorship which was dominated by the minority Alawite sect.  

The ultra-ambitious leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is an Iraqi who professes to have more religious credentials than previous Al Qaeda leaders.  He claims to be a descendant of the prophet Muhammad and has proclaimed himself as Caliph (successor) of Muhammad.  He also sees himself as the true successor of Osama bin Laden and has bristled at attempts by bin Laden’s chief lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to assert leadership over ISIS.

The expansion of ISIS into Syria sparked friction with Al Qaeda’s official franchise in Syria, Jabhat Al-Nusra (the Victory Front).  In April 2013, ISIS leader Baghdadi unilaterally proclaimed a merger with Al-Nusra, which was led by one of his former lieutenants.  But Al-Nusra rejected the merger, supported by Zawahiri.  

The rivalry over leadership of the Islamist revolution in Syria has led to violent clashes between the two groups. These internecine battles have left thousands of militants dead.  

In February 2014, Al Qaeda disowned ISIS. It fears that Baghdadi’s extremely ruthless and brutal tactics will tarnish its brand and alienate many Muslims.

ISIS, for its part, claims that Al Qaeda has deviated from bin Laden’s path.  And ISIS enjoys several important advantages over the Al Qaeda core group led by Zawahiri.

While Zawahiri is hiding—supposedly in the remote tribal badlands along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border—ISIS controls territory the size of Maryland in the heart of the Arab Middle East.  This has given it access to oil resources and war booty—spoils that have made it the richest terrorist group in history.  

The increasingly sectarian nature of the civil wars in Iraq and Syria also has been a recruitment boon to ISIS, helping it attract Sunni militants from many Arab countries, Europe, Asia and the West.  The younger generation of Islamist militants finds the mysterious ISIS leader Baghdadi far more appealing than the dour and elderly Zawahiri.  And ISIS cleverly amplifies Baghdadi’s appeal with a sophisticated propaganda apparatus that spews slick videos on multiple social media platforms favored by young Muslims.  

This has enabled ISIS to recruit the lion’s share of the estimated 15,000 foreign fighters who have flocked to Syria and Iraq.  Al Qaeda, which emerged from the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets, has established its own pipeline to exploit the war in Syria to funnel foreign fighters to its Al-Nusra franchise.  It also has deployed a cadre of veteran operatives, dubbed the Khorasan group by U.S. officials, which seeks to recruit foreign fighters in Syria for terrorist operations in their home countries.

The bottom line is that Al Qaeda and ISIS increasingly are competing for recruits, funding and leadership of the global Islamist revolution.  

The good news is that this power struggle may weaken both of them.  

The bad news is that their rivalry may spark a competition to see who can launch the most spectacular terrorist attacks against Western targets.  Moreover, Syria has emerged as a terrorist sanctuary that potentially poses a greater threat to the United States than Afghanistan did before 9/11.

Isis has beheaded a senior Nusra leader in Raqqa.Twitter/Isis
ISIS vs. al Qaeda: How they're different
Published on Aug 31, 2014
The Pentagon says the terror group is beyond anything we've seen. They're also threatening to kill three more American hostages. President Obama's top mili.

Dr. Anat Hochberg-Marom, an expert on global terrorism and marketing, at i24News TV analyzes & explains the geopolitical situation in Iraq and the Middle Eas.

Bobby Ghosh, Managing Editor of business news website Quartz discusses why he thinks ISIS is a threat to the U.S..

ISIS have launched out on Al Qaeda's leadership Ayman Al Zawahiri and Jabhat al Nusra stating that they no longer represent the Jihad in Syria. JN Al Joulani.

Inside ISIS and Al-Qaeda’s Battle for Brand Supremacy | TIME
Published on Feb 12, 2015
They may share similar goals but the two groups are bitter rivals

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