New York: In a newly publicised audio message, Al Qaida leader Ayman Al Zawahiri has condemned Daesh for attempting to pull militants away from other militant organisations to join its self-proclaimed caliphate.
Al Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who assumed the leadership of Al Qaida after the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, has previously chastised leaders of the rival Islamist group, whose domain now stretches across much of Iraq and Syria. But his new comments may reflect the growing vulnerability of Al Qaida, which after years of rallying militants across the world has been overshadowed by Daesh.
The message, produced by Al Qaida’s Al Shahab media foundation, was recorded this spring and posted on radical Islamist web forums Wednesday, according to the Israeli-run SITE Intelligence Group.
“We have endured a lot of harm from Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and his brothers, and we preferred to respond with as little as possible, out of our concern to extinguish the fire of sedition,” Al Zawahiri said, according to a translation provided by SITE. Al Baghdadi, a veteran Iraqi militant, has declared himself caliph of a group which now boasts several franchises.
“But Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and his brothers did not leave us a choice, for they have demanded that all the Mujahideen reject their confirmed pledges of allegiance, and to pledge allegiance to them for what they claim of a caliphate,” he said.
Even as Daesh operations crop up in places such as Libya and Yemen, sporadic battles continue in Syria and elsewhere between militants linked to Al Qaida and those from Daesh.
But Al Zawahiri also appeared to leave open the possibility of collaboration with Daesh fighters, whose battlefield success has prompted a growing US-led military campaign over Iraq and Syria.
“Despite the big mistakes [of Daesh], if I were in Iraq or Syria I would cooperate with them in killing the crusaders and secularists and Shiites even though I don’t recognise the legitimacy of their state, because the matter is bigger than that,” he said.
Both Al Qaida and Daesh are Sunni groups that regard Shiites as infidels.
Source: Washington Post