ISIS got its start as al-Qaeda in Iraq, before growing into its own de facto nation and splitting very publicly with al-Qaeda. The al-Qaeda leadership was very public in criticizing ISIS as too extreme. Now, it seems a rapprochement between the two may be under discussion.
That’s the news out of Iraq, where Vice President (and former PM) Ayad Allawi claims intelligence showing that ISIS is seeking a new alliance with al-Qaeda in response to its recent territory losses, and that there has been a dialogue between representatives of ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdad and al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Given the rather ugly way the two sides split, it’s hard to see them easily coming back together in some form of alliance, though ideologically they both have the same basic origins, and apart from tactical disagreements appear to be largely compatible.
Such an alliance might be more meaningful outside of Iraq and Syria, however, as al-Qaeda and ISIS are separated by considerable territory in Syria, and al-Qaeda doesn’t appear to have a meaningful presence in Iraq. The two sides both have a presence in places like Yemen, for example, and limited presences in other countries like Pakistan.
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