London- Dabiq, online ISIS issued magazine for propaganda and recruitment, published an article describing al-Qaeda and its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as proxy used to protect Iran’s interests. The article said that each of ISIS and al-Qaeda excel when it comes to an extremism showdown. They display no mercy among each other nor do they hesitate when killing one another. War between terrorists goes beyond bullets and fire to an arena in which they seek to win over the support of each other’s followers.
Psychological warfare is a critical rift curve that directly affects recruitment and the funding process of terrorism. It seems that ISIS wants to take advantage of the opportunity of any affiliation between al-Qaeda and Iran surfacing.
ISIS’s well-studied propaganda on al-Qaeda’s previous proclamations aims to prove that al-Qaeda and Iran were in cahoots, and that al-Qaeda would stretch an arm’s length not to harm Iranian best interest at any given cost.
Hani al-Sibai director of al-Maqrīzī Center for Historical Studies (UK) in London told Asharq Al-Awsat that al-Qaeda never once had sent out the initiative for a Caliphate. However, abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s group, back when most al-Qaeda’s leaders Saif al-Adel Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, and abu Mohammed al-Masri were detained by theIranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for several years have done nothing to harm Iran. The IRGC also had tens of Afghani refugee families that sought asylum in Iran held in their custody. When Taliban was led by abu Omar al-Baghdadi and later succeeded by abuBakr al-Baghdadi no actions were taken against Iran. “Al-Qaeda stood between Iran and ISIS, otherwise Iran could have been turned into a blood pool”, official ISIS spokesman al-Adnani said.
Hani al-Sibai , since al-Baghdadi announced his caliphate over two years ago, wondered “ why has not one single operation been led against Iran? Given that it is a stone’s throw away from the alleged caliphate, instead operations are directed to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Libya.” He explained that ISIS is looking to kill two birds with one stone. It would distort al-Qaeda’s reputation among extremists and add to the sectarian strife in the world.
ISIS’s English issue of Dabiq, said that al-Qaeda’s excuses on not targeting Iran are invalid.
One must not forget that ISIS itself has no regard to Islamic doctrines. Alternatively, the terrorist organization persistently violates religious decrees for political purposes. What Dabiq is aiming at is not the recruitment of ordinary Muslims, rather than using a tactic to strike al-Qaeda’s popular extremist base, pointing out accusations on al-Zawahiri not being violent enough.
Al-Zawahiri states that “militants must not fight misguided sects like Shi’ite Isma’ilism or deluded Sufis, so long that these sects do not fight the Sunnah. Should they ever fight the Sunnah, then only the combatants of the sect should be fought, attacks on non-militants should be avoided. Their families, houses, places of religious sanctity, places of celebration and their religious gatherings all must not be attacked. These sects must be dealt with using wisdom, invitation and spread of awareness among them.”
ISIS leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi responded to Al-Zawahiri with harsh criticism on the leniency al-Qaeda was showing towards Shi’ites, disregarding that their leaders should be brought into the “light”.
However, Al-Zawahiri goes on scolding al-Zarqawi’s response saying that “our brothers have forgotten that Iran and us are in need of each other. We must not harm each other, especially at a time we are both targeted by the U.S.”