Tensions within Qaeda: Zawahiri's authority ends where that of Baghdadi begins
Qaeda's leader in Iraq defies orders from Zawahiri, to break up his claimed union with jihadist group in Syria.
Middle East Online
What would Zawahiri do now?
BAGHDAD - Al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq has defied orders from the group's global chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to break up his claimed union with a jihadist group in Syria, according to an audio message released Saturday.
The purported remarks by Islamic State of Iraq head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the message posted on jihadist forums indicate tensions between ISI and Al-Qaeda's central command.
In April, Baghdadi announced that ISI had merged with Syria's Al-Nusra Front.
Al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani acknowledged a relationship between the two groups, but he denied there had been a merger and publicly pledged his allegiance to Zawahiri.
Yet in Saturday's message, the man identified as Baghdadi said "the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant remains, as long as there is blood in our veins and our eyes are blinking.
"It remains, and we will not compromise; we will not give up... until we die."
Earlier this month, Zawahiri ruled that the ISI and Al-Nusra should operate as separate entities, according to a letter posted on Al-Jazeera's website.
Baghdadi had "made a mistake" by announcing a merger "without consulting us," he said.
The merger plan has been "damaging to all jihadists", Zawahiri said, adding that "Al-Nusra Front is an independent branch of Al-Qaeda".
But the message on Saturday said: "Regarding the message which was attributed to Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri ... (I) was put in a situation, to choose between God's command and an order against God."
"I chose the order of my God, over the order against it in the message."
The audio message could not immediately be independently verified.
Al-Nusra Front, created in January 2012, joined Al-Qaeda last December on a US list of foreign terrorist organisations.
Among elements fighting to oust the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it is one of the best armed and most successful on the battlefield. It has carried out some of the deadliest attacks in the uprising, claiming responsibility for several suicide bombings.
(F)AIR USE NOTICE: All original content and/or articles and graphics in this message are copyrighted, unless specifically noted otherwise. All rights to these copyrighted items are reserved. Articles and graphics have been placed within for educational and discussion purposes only, in compliance with "Fair Use" criteria established in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.
The principle of "Fair Use" was established as law by Section 107 of The Copyright Act of 1976. "Fair Use" legally eliminates the need to obtain permission or pay royalties for the use of previously copyrighted materials if the purposes of display include "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research." Section 107 establishes four criteria for determining whether the use of a work in any particular case qualifies as a "fair use". A work used does not necessarily have to satisfy all four criteria to qualify as an instance of "fair use". Rather, "fair use" is determined by the overall extent to which the cited work does or does not substantially satisfy the criteria in their totality. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. For more information go to:
THIS DOCUMENT MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. COPYING AND DISSEMINATION IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS.