I posted a bit last year on the feud between Al Qaeda and ISIS. The guardian has a big article out on the inside story of this feud and how ISIS won.
How Isis crippled al-Qaida
The inside story of the coup that has brought the world’s most feared terrorist network to the brink of collapse
Some posts from last year
Actually Al Qaeda has been losing power for a while now.
Many analysts now believe that Al Qaeda under Ayman al-Zawahiri is no longer the premiere jihadi network worldwide. Zawahiri was never as popular as Bin Laden and he's having trouble keeping the group together. There's a big fracture happening in the jihadi world.
While there is much we don't know about the current size and operational status of AQC, there is ample evidence that the top-down command structure -- with Zawahiri's organization on top of the pyramid -- is, at a minimum, under tremendous pressure.
We can debate whether it has completely collapsed, whether it is severely damaged, whether it is still hanging on, and whether it might mount a comeback, but the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that control of al Qaeda's affiliates is slipping out of Zawahiri's hands. This weekend's disavowal of ISIS by AQC is only the most recent and explicit example.
We sometimes talk about al Qaeda and its affiliates as if this structure has a clear precedent, deep roots, and a long history of cohesion. In fact, the "affiliate program" was barely off the ground before cracks began to form. Al Qaeda in Iraq, and its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, went off the rails almost immediately, and AQC tried -- futilely -- to rein him in through private correspondence, which was captured in Iraq and Afghanistan and later published by the U.S. government. The conflict was only resolved with Zarqawi's death in 2006.
Today, Zawahiri has indisputably lost control of AQI, now known as ISIS. In June, ISIS tried to take control of al Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra. When Zawahiri came down in support of the powerful newcomer, ISIS openly defied him, with its emir posting a video online explicitly rejecting the order to confine its activities to Iraq.
This has led fighting among jihadi groups in Syria. And now groups are having to decide who to be loyal to.
Originally Posted by KevinNYC
The jihadist group ISIS who is fighting in both Syria and Iraq, just took over Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.ISIS is the group, that is fighting Al Zawahiri's core Al Qaeda for leadership of the jihadi movement. A victory like can mean other groups who have yet to choose sides see them as the stronger group.
The Guardian was able to interview Jihadi leaders who part of the negotiations between Al Qaeda and ISIS.
On 5 February, Jordanian officials confirmed that the intellectual godfather of al-Qaida, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, had been released from prison. Though he is little known in the west, Maqdisi’s importance in the canon of radical Islamic thought is unrivalled by anyone alive. The 56-year-old Palestinian rose to prominence in the 1980s, when he became the first significant radical Islamic scholar to declare the Saudi royal family were apostates, and therefore legitimate targets of jihad. At the time, Maqdisi’s writings were so radical that even Osama bin Laden thought they were too extreme.....
Now the man US terrorism analysts call “the most influential living jihadi theorist” has turned his ire toward Isis – and emerged, in the last year, as one of the group’s most powerful critics. Soon after the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of a caliphate last June, Maqdisi released a long tract castigating Isis as ignorant and misguided, accusing them of subverting the “Islamic project” that he has long nurtured.
Maqdisi’s war of words with Isis is emblematic of the new fratricidal split within violent Islamic radicalism – but it is also a sign that al-Qaida, once the world’s most feared terrorist network, knows it has been surpassed.
Isis has not simply eclipsed al-Qaida on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and in the competition for funding and new recruits. According to a series of exclusive interviews with senior jihadi ideologues, Isis has successfully launched “a coup” against al-Qaida to destroy it from within. As a consequence, they now admit, al-Qaida – as an idea and an organisation – is now on the verge of collapse.
This is how the negotiators were treated.
In response, the Isis negotiators sent Maqdisi an electronic file that they claimed would provide proof of life – but the file was password protected.
On 3 February, after a few days of tense dialogue, the negotiators finally sent Maqdisi the password to unlock the file. When he received it, Maqdisi realised he had been betrayed: the password, in Arabic, was “Maqdisi the pimp, the sole of the tyrant’s shoe, son of the English whore.”
Zawahiri doesn't have the stuff to keep ISIS and other jihadis in the fold.
Such impudent behaviour, the two men agreed, would never have been accepted in the days when Bin Laden was alive. “No one used to speak against him,” Maqdisi lamented. “Bin Laden was a star. He had special charisma.” But despite their personal affection for his successor, Zawahiri – whom they call “Dr Ayman” – they both admit that he does not possess the authority and control to rebuff the threat from Isis. From the “very beginning” of his tenure, Zawahiri lacked “direct military or operational control,” Qatada said. “He has become accustomed to operating in this decentralised way – he is isolated.”
According to Maqdisi, al-Qaida’s organisational structure has “collapsed”. Zawahiri, Maqdisi said, “operates solely based on allegiance. There is no organisational structure. There is only communication channels, and loyalty.” And unfortunately for Zawahiri, Isis has done its utmost to ensure that loyalty is in short supply.
It's utmost includes buying them off.
Remember a few months ago when ISIS was claimed to be in several countries? Essentially these were existing jihadi groups who were offered large sums of money for their allegiance.