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Nate Jackson / September 11, 2015

Al-Qaida Declares War on the Islamic State

The rift was only a matter of time.

Many Muslims hate other Muslims just about as much as they hate “infidels” — that would be the rest of us. And for al-Qaida, which has largely taken a back seat to the Islamic State in terms of reach, activity and coverage, that hatred has now boiled over. The day before the anniversary of 9/11, ABC News reports, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who replaced Osama bin Laden as the head of al Qaeda four years ago, in a new audio message accused ISIS top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ‘sedition’ and insisted the Iraqi terrorist recluse was not the leader of all Muslims and militant jihad as ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State, as al-Baghdadi had claimed 14 months ago in a Mosul mosque.“ That division is good as far as it goes in that at least the two jihadist groups won’t be teaming up any time soon. According to former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen, "Zawahiri until now has not been willing to openly condemn Baghdadi and ISIS. It highlights how deep the division is between al Qaeda leadership and ISIS. It suggests that the differences are irreconcilable.” But the rift was also only a matter of time. “We always thought that the death of [Osama] bin Laden could create a rift between the Egyptians and the other Arabs inside al Qaeda since Zawahiri was an Egyptian,” said former CIA Director Michael Hayden. “Seems to have played out.” We’ll see what it means for U.S. security.

In other news from Mecca, a crane collapsed onto the Grand Mosque today and killed over 100 people. Rather interesting timing, being the anniversary of 9/11.

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