#AceNewsServices – BAGHDAD – May 04 – Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to stop fighting in Syria and return to Iraq.
Zawahiri has blamed Baghdadi for the infighting amongst Islamist fighters in Syria, describing him as “al-Qaeda’s rebellious soldier.”
(Al-Alkabar) – May 03 – Ayman al-Zawahiri has decided to take a decisive decision regarding the leader of ISIS, demanding he return to Iraq.
He blames Baghdadi for the current infighting among Islamist fighters in northern Syria and he called on al-Nusra Front to stop fighting against ISIS.
Despite expressions like the “venerable sheikh,” and “God save him” that he used when talking about Baghdadi, Zawahiri was serious in his demand, saying “God bear witness, I have delivered the message.”
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is a jihadist group active in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS was formed in April 2013 and grew out of al-Qaeda’s affiliate organisation in Iraq. It has since become one of the main jihadist groups fighting government forces in Syria.
The final “s” in the acronym Isis stems from the Arabic word “al-Sham”. This can mean the Levant, Syria or even Damascus but in the context of the global jihad it refers to the Levant.
Its precise size is unknown, but it is thought to include thousands of fighters, including many foreign jihadists.
Analysts say non-Syrians constitute a majority of Isis’s elite fighter corps and are disproportionately represented in its leadership.
It took over the city of Raqqa after rebels overran the city in March 2013. It was the first provincial capital to fall under rebel control.
It also has a presence in a number of towns close to the Turkish border in the north of the country, and has gained a reputation for brutal rule in the areas that it controls.
Throughout the Syrian civil war, one of the major concerns of Western powers in particular has been the inflow of Sunni foreign fighters, who come from the wider Arab world, Western Europe, and as far afield as Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
According to a recent estimate by Aaron Zelin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, there could be up to 11,000 of these fighters. It raises the questions of which groups they join, and what the relations between these groups are.
By far the two most popular banners for these foreign fighters are al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
ISIS is the result of a unilateral attempt by the leader of Iraq’s al-Qaeda affiliate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to merge his group with al-Nusra.
The move was rejected al-Nusra’s leader, Abu Mohammed al-Julani, and by al-Qaeda overall leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, but Baghdadi refused to disband ISIS.
The concluding question that vexes governments is what kind of threat, if any, these foreign fighters may pose to the outside world.
Of all the above groups, ISIS most openly expresses the ultimately global nature of its struggle, in which the end goal is world domination, delusional as that may seem.
Indeed, it is likely for this reason that ISIS appears to be attracting the most foreign fighters, who generally come from global jihadist ideological backgrounds and already had this world-view before coming to Syria.
At the same time, ISIS fighters and supporters make clear to me that a fight against the UK, for example, is destined for the far future, after an Islamic state is established in Iraq and Syria and then extended throughout the Muslim world as a caliphate.