Will al Qaeda’s Disowned Syria Affiliate Rival Its Old Boss?


J. Dana Stuster
foreignpolicy.com
February 5, 2014

For more than a decade, al Qaeda has been aggressively extending its reach through a sort of franchising strategy, signing up an ally here and a subsidiary there to fight its global jihad.

But on radical Islam’s most prominent battlefield, al Qaeda appears to be having second thoughts about that approach. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s replacement as the emir of al Qaeda, just announced he’s cutting ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams, a group often known by the acronym ISIS.

“Al Qaeda has no connection with the group called the ISIS, as it was not informed or consulted about its establishment,” the group’s central leadership wrote in a statement circulating in jihadist forums and published by the BBC. “It was not pleased with it and thus ordered its suspension. Therefore, it is not affiliated with al Qaeda and has no organizational relationship with it.” The terror group, the statement adds, “is not responsible for ISIS’s actions.”

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