In a blistering new message, the leader of al Qaeda denounces the leader of ISIS as the illegitimate leader of a phony caliphate.
Exposing a glaring hostility between the two jihadi groups, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda, openly attacks ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for usurping the jihadi movement.
“We do not acknowledge this Caliphate,” he says, according to a translation from SITE Intelligence posted Wednesday. “We do not see Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as one worthy of the Caliphate.”
He dismisses al-Baghdadi as a pretender who declared himself caliph with the support of only “a few unknown people,” and established ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, “by force and with explosions and car bombs,” instead of by “the choice of the people” through “approval and consultation.”
He also faults al-Baghdadi for failing to support Muslims who are not in the Islamic State’s territory.
“When Gaza was burning beneath Israeli bombs, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not support it with one word, but his main concern was that all the mujahideen pledge allegiance to him, after he assigned himself to be the Caliph without consulting them.”
And he accuses al-Baghdadi of sedition, for encouraging al Qaeda followers to abandon their pledges, and instead promise their loyalty to ISIS.
“It’s a major broadside against the Islamic State,” says former State Department counterterrorism adviser William McCants, who is now with the Brookings Institution. “Zawahiri is clearly very angry and frustrated that the Islamic State has been attacking him, attacking his soldiers on the ground, attacking him personally.” Read full on CNN