Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has announced that he is annulling the previously announced merger between al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Syrian-based Jabhat al-Nusra. The merger was to create a group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The merger talks were a matter of serious dispute and threatened to split Nusra in half, with part of the group on board with the merger with AQI, with whom they have close ties, and others insisting the group deserved parity with AQI as a direct auxiliary of al-Qaeda’s parent organization.
The clash threatened to split Nusra’s leadership at a time when the Syrian Civil War is taking on more and more of al-Qaeda’s attention, and Zawahri sought not only to end the clash, but admonished the two sides to “stop arguing.”
Though not directly endorsed by the US the way other parts of the Syrian rebellion have been, Jabhat al-Nusra remains the front-line fighters for most of the rebel offensives nationwide, and is expected to be hugely influential if the rebels end up winning the war.
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