An ISIS–Al Qaeda 'Frankenstein' Could Be On Its Way by Abdul Basit, The National Interest
The Islamic State terrorist group, which emerged as the trendsetter of the global jihad in 2014, is past its prime and glory. Currently, it is on the defensive, fighting for its survival, unlike the 2014 offensive when it was expanding territorially, shocking the international community with its unapologetically brutal videos and flaunting its cash to attract foreign jihadists in the thousands.
ISIS has been on the receiving end of significant territorial losses in Iraq and Syria, travel restrictions dissuading would-be foreign fighters, dwindling finances and high casualty rates among its foot soldiers. The terror group’s social media propaganda arm, Al-Hayat, is not even half as active as it was last year.
Meanwhile, Al Qaeda central, which remained the undisputed leader and champion of global jihad until 2014, is in an abysmal state of affairs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since Osama bin Laden’s death, Al Qaeda has lost its mojo and it has become a jihadi pariah. Only fifty to sixty members and operatives of Al Qaeda are in the Af-Pak region; the rest have been killed or arrested, or have relocated to the Middle East. Al Qaeda has not carried out any large-scale terrorist attacks in the last seven years. The terror group has been reduced to a footnote in annual threat assessments. Currently, it is depending on its Yemeni branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), for funding and its Taliban allies for shelter, protection and movement.
This fluid situation has once again rendered the leadership of global jihad uncertain…