Ascendant Islamist Group Rivals al-Qaida for Young Recruits

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
July 23, 2014, 8:55 a.m.

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.

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