Reported efforts to form an alliance and possible unity between ISIS and Al Qaida to end jihadists infighting in Syria have now officially been declared a failure,as declared by the Chechen Jihadist leader who mediated between the two groups.Rift is too deep to mend.
BY Ali YounesAli Younes
In his audio message today, “Islamic State” leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi effectively ruled out any possible unity with his former comrades, rivals and now enemies at Al Nusra Front, the Al Qaida organization in Syria. In is message today, al Baghdadi said that he accepts the pledge of allegiance from salafist-Jihadist groups in the Sinai, in North Africa and elsewhere. In this part of his message, he is saying that the only form of unity with other Jihadist groups is through pledging allegiance to him personally and to his “Islamic State.”As one important ISIS activist and supporter in Jordan told me few days ago that talk of unity or merger between Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State is “nothing but wishful thinking.” He also said that “it is an impossible feat considering that both groups have failed to even agree on the how to address each other first.” While Al Nusra Front still considers ISIS as yet another group or an organization or even a renegade organization , ISIS however, feels that it is a fully fledged State and States do not get united or merge with groups organizations.
But conformation of the failed efforts to form an alliance between the two jihadist groups appeared today Thursday in a videotaped message by Chechen Jihadist Salaheddine al Shishani ( Salaheddine the Chechen) who leads a brigade of Chechen fighters in Syria in support of the rebellion against Assad’s regime. Al Shishani acted as an emissary of Al Nusra and its leader Abu Mohamad al Joulani and the Islamic Front, another Jihadist group fighting in Syria. He was empowered with the authority to strike an agreement with ISIS should they agree on the terms of alliance. His ISIS counterpart, however, was another Chechen Jihadist leader whose name is Omar al Shishani ( Omar the Chechen).
Al Shishani found nothing but rejection and contempt from ISIS for his efforts.
He said in his taped message which appeared on a Chechen-Jihadist website today that: “ I stayed in Al Raqqa for two days, and met with ISIS representatives and offered them truce and reconciliation with the fighting Jihadists groups. But they refused.” He also said that “they asked me instead to pledge allegiance to Caliph abu Bakr al Baghdadi, but I refused because I already have pledged my allegiance to my Chechen leader.”
He added that ISIS is convinced that both al Nusra and the Islamic Front have become apostate and thus infidels; therefore there is no point of even talking to them as equals.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that the efforts to reconcile the Jihadists groups in Syria started when well known Saudi preacher Abdullah al Mhesne published his own initiative last year to reconcile and unite all the fighting jihadists groups in Syria. He called it “the Umma Initiative” ( Initiative of the Muslim Nation). Al Mhesne initiative called for the establishing one Islamic court that would act as the governing body for all of the Jihadist groups and that each group would appoint a representative of its own in it. The court would then regulate relations between the different groups, resolve disputes and eventually establish coherent working relations between all of the Jihadists in Syria. Al Mhesne court initiative however failed because ISIS refused to even discuss it.
The efforts to end the fighting between ISIS and Al Nusra and others were later rekindled when will-known Jordanian Jihadist-salafist leader was released from jail in Jordan last September and have told me in October that there were new efforts to end the fighting among the Jihadists in Syria and to possibly unite them all in the face of the US-led war against ISIS and Al Nusra in Syria and Iraq.
But all indications now show that ISIS is not even remotely interested in talking to any of the Jihadists groups as equal. The only way for ISIS to accept others is to fold it in through complete submission to its leader and self-declared Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. His speech today and the pledge of allegiance of several jihadist groups to him clearly show that it is the only form to join ISIS.
Ali Younes is the Editor of the Arab Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on twitter @clearali
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