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ISIS, al-Qaeda compete for supremacy in global jihad

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has emerged as a major challenger to al-Qaeda as the leading brand in the global militant jihad movement.
Masked Sunni Muslim gunmen patrol in the city of Falluja, 70 km (44 miles) west of Baghdad, February 8, 2014.  ISIL militants and other Sunni groups angered by the Shi'ite-led government overran Falluja and parts of the nearby city of Ramadi in the western province of Anbar on Jan. 1.   REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTX18FGA
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Much media attention has recently focused on a statement issued by al-Qaeda's central command on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border under Ayman al-Zawahri’s leadership, declaring that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has no relationship with the central leadership of al-Qaeda.

On the basis of this development, one might think that ISIS, which has hitherto been described in the media as an “al-Qaeda affiliate,” may lose ground and standing in the eyes of jihadis and their supporters both inside and outside Syria. Indeed, in Jordan, the Salafist-jihadist movement has come firmly on the side of Jabhat al-Nusra against ISIS, maintaining strong links with Jabhat al-Nusra in the southern Syrian border province of Daraa, which lacks an ISIS presence.

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