Though the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda would theoretically be on the same page when it comes to Muslim control, these two extremist groups are actually sworn enemies. What’s the difference between these two groups and why is there so much bad blood between them?
ISIS and al Qaeda are two radical jihadist organizations that despise each other. It all stems from the radical belief that has become the basis for the war against the Western World and all Arab autocrats. According to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, a caliphate, or government led by a declared successor to the prophet Muhammad, will emerge after the world has been completely purified of Western influences. While both groups want this, ISIS is a little more impatient and strives for increased bloodshed to purify the Muslim world faster. On Ramadan of 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS and former head of the al Qaeda in Iraq, officially declared himself caliph and encouraged all Muslims to immigrate to areas that the group had taken over in Iraq and Syria to further their cause. While al Qaeda is against indiscriminate attacks against opposing Muslim groups such as Shi’ites, al-Baghdadi and his predecessor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, viewed them as a necessary action against all who do not support the Jihadist mission. By forming this new group and declaring al Qaeda as an enemy, he is now paving the way for a newer, and possibly more dangerous, generation of Islamic terrorists.