Al-Qaeda breaks ties with ISIL

Al-Qaeda breaks ties with ISIL
Updated 15 May 2014

Al-Qaeda breaks ties with ISIL

Al-Qaeda breaks ties with ISIL

CAIRO: Al-Qaeda’s central leadership broke off ties with one of the most powerful militant groups in Syria, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and distanced itself from the rebel infighting in that country’s civil war, according to a statement Monday.
The announcement appeared to be an attempt by Al-Qaeda to put its house in order and reassert influence among rival Islamic groups that have turned against one another in Syria, where the groups have joined rebels in fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.
In past months, the Islamic State — created by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the head of Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq — has increasingly clashed with other hard-line factions, including assassinating commanders of rival groups with car bombs and shootings.
Al-Baghdadi created the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant last year in defiance of orders from the terror network’s leader, Ayman Al-Zawahri, who at the time ordered him to remain the head of Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, while authorizing another group, Jabhat Al-Nusra, or Nusra Front, to operate in Syria in Al-Qaeda’s name.
Al-Baghdadi went ahead and created the new group, becoming a powerful force in Syria’s conflict.
In Monday’s statement, Al-Qaeda’s general command announced it has “no connection” with the Islamic State, underlined that the group “is not a branch of the Al-Qaeda organization,” and said Al-Qaeda “is not responsible for its actions.” Al-Qaeda did not condone the group’s creation “and in fact ordered it to stop,” the statement said.
It also condemned the infighting among Islamic groups, saying, “We distance ourselves from the sedition taking place among the mujahedeen factions (in Syria) and of the forbidden blood shed by any faction.” It warned that mujahedeen, of holy warriors, must recognize the “enormity of the catastrophe” caused by “this sedition.”
Charles Lister of the Brookings Doha Center said the Al-Qaeda statement reflected its “attempt to definitively re-assert some level of authority over the jihad in Syria.”