A merger between ISIS and AQC looks unlikely at this point. Al Qaeda may well just be positioning itself to pick up as many ISIS assets as possible when convenient.
Despite targeting AQ for the past sixteen years and killing bin Laden, the U.S. and its allies have been unable to destroy what was once considered the most dangerous terrorist group in the world.
Islamic State recruiters and leaders residing in Syria and Iraq are now directing attacks in the West, India, and East Asia via “homegrown” extremists.
About the Author(s)
by Carl J. Ciovacco, Small Wars Journal
Since its inception, al Qaeda's treatment of noncombatant immunity has migrated from full observance to complete disregard. In just over a decade, al Qaeda transitioned from basing entire operations on the inviolable nature of noncombatant immunity to specifically targeting noncombatants. From 1991 until 2002, al Qaeda evolved through five distinct phases in its observance of noncombatant immunity. These phases transition from Phase One's complete respect for noncombatants to Phase Five's intentional targeting of millions of noncombatants with weapons of mass destruction. More recently, however, al Qaeda appears to be taking stock of the harm that targeting noncombatants is having on its cause. This paper will provide a phased analysis of how al Qaeda's provision of noncombatant immunity disintegrated over time and why it may be returning today. This progression of thought and action concerning noncombatants serves as a roadmap by which to understand how and why al Qaeda made these ideological leaps.