An Opening For Al-Qaeda

Since the Islamic State (IS) made its dramatic military advance in Iraq more than a year ago—capturing Mosul and other key cities and declaring the caliphate’s re-establishment—analysts have been near-unanimous that the group’s emergence has devastated its parent organization, al-Qaeda. Indeed, IS has undermined al-Qaeda’s once-unrivaled position as the standard-bearer of the jihadist movement, outstripping al-Qaeda’s public messaging with its robust propaganda apparatus. It has also persuaded several groups that were previously in al-Qaeda’s orbit—including Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in the Sinai and Nigeria’s Boko Haram—to break away and re-style themselves as provinces of the caliphate. As a result, many analysts now believe that IS has become the preeminent global jihadist organization.

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