The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria may be gaining an edge over al-Qaida in a battle for the loyalty of young supporters, Reuters reports.
Islamists now coming of age are more frequently dismissing al-Qaida as a worn down and ineffective organization, the wire service reported on Wednesday. Using social media services known for attracting candidate supporters, the young radicals have increasingly voiced admiration for the newer group that declared a new "Islamic State" last month in recently seized Middle Eastern territory.
According to exiled Saudi dissident Saad al-Faqih, the group's June 29 declaration of new Islamic governance was "a very loud noise, but not as effective as the success in conquering vast areas of Iraq."
"That conquest has had a huge psychological effect in the whole region," al-Faqih said.
The ISIS military gains included the capture of a shuttered Saddam Hussein-era chemical weapons storage site, as well as a bid to control an Iraqi oil refinery reported to hold substances that could pose hazards to public health.
The organization has demonstrated greater willingness than elements of al-Qaeda's aging central leadership to employ violent tactics against fellow Muslims, according to previous reporting.
Western government personnel, though, contend that al-Qaida remains a significant danger. Reuters reported that the officials cited the organization's opportunity to gather strength amid the region's political upheaval, and noted that the group's Syrian and Yemeni affiliates include veteran fighters and specialists in bomb construction.