The Merger of ISIS and al-Qaeda Could Cripple the Civilized World

Riyadh Mohammed, The Fiscal Times

As ISIS continues to advance on the Syrian town of Kobani and close in on Turkey's border, experts in Islamic radical movements think the terror group may merge with its al-Qaeda mother organization soon. Together, the group would represent the greatest terror threat to the civilized world.

"I think Britain, Germany and France will witness significant attacks in their territories by the Islamic State. Al-Baghdadi [the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, otherwise known as ISIS] may reconcile with al-Zawhiri [the leader of the al-Qaeda central organization] to fight the crusader enemy.

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The attacks by the United States and her allies will unite the two groups," said Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi researcher who just finished writing a book about ISIS based on his unique access to the organization's documents and years of research and advising Iraqi security forces.

"I have been monitoring al-Qaeda's leaders' rhetoric towards Baghdadi. They are getting softer and softer….The Islamic State, regardless of how big or small it becomes, will come back to its mother: al-Qaeda," he added.

Break between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda

ISIS and al-Qaeda have a long, tangled history with one another. ISIS was the al-Qaeda official branch in Iraq until last February. However, they finally split after disagreements over operations in Syria.

The recent US intervention in the region along with the new US-led airstrike campaign against ISIS has actually forced the two groups to renew negotiations. For example, recent reports suggested that ISIS and al-Nusra Front are together planning the war against the US-led alliance.

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The al-Qaeda affiliated Khorasan group in Syria that was also targeted in the recent air attacks declared a few days ago in an audio message that it had joined ISIS. Add to that the Taliban in Pakistan who are hopping on board the ISIS train and you have a potential jihadi World War III.

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Other experts think that ISIS could be dissolved and swallowed by al-Qaeda, leading to the same result.

"The Islamic State has killed many of al-Qaeda's operatives in Syria and Iraq.... I think that al-Baghdadi will be killed, either by an attack by the U.S.-led alliance or by al-Qaeda.... The Islamic State doesn't have the elements of survival like the al-Qaeda mother organization. It is most likely that it will be dissolved within al-Qaeda," said Ibrahim al-Somaidaei, an Iraqi security analyst and former intelligence officer based in Amman, Jordan.

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Understanding who is responsible for big decisions within ISIS is critical to making sense of the group's activity. According to al-Hashimi, ISIS has a written doctrine similar to a constitution. This document was authored by a man called Abdallah Abdul Samed al-Ani, who is considered the main theorist of the ISIS.

The group's decisions are divided into three categories. The first contains decisions made at the highest level by the emirate council headed by Baghdadi, the council of the resolution and decision also headed by Baghdadi, and the Shura council headed by Abu Ala al-Afri. "These decisions are very rare…like the decision of declaring the Caliphate and the decisions of rebellion on al-Zawahiri and Mulla Omar…they represent great hardship." added al-Hashimi.