News / Middle East

    Zawahri Intervenes in Dispute Between Syrian, Iraqi al-Qaida Wings

    Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, November 10, 2001.
    Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, November 10, 2001.
    Reuters
    Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri has intervened in a dispute between the Iraqi and Syrian branches of his network, telling both to "stop arguing." Qatar-based Al Jazeera television reported.

    Al-Qaida in Iraq announced in April that it had united with Syria's Nusra Front, which now spearheads the fight against President Bashar al-Assad. This upset Nusra, which affirmed its loyalty to Zawahri but said it had not been told of any merger.

    Nusra leaders, aware that many Syrians had joined the Front because of its military prowess, rather than for ideological reasons, had previously sought to minimize the use of tactics such as indiscriminate attacks on civilians and Islamist crackdowns which had alienated many Iraqis from al-Qaida in Iraq during the struggle against the U.S.-led occupation after 2003.

    According to a letter purportedly from Zawahri and posted on Al Jazeera's website, the al-Qaida leader annulled the merger declared by the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying each group was separate.

    "The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is cancelled, and work continues under the name the Islamic State of Iraq," he said in the letter posted on the website on Sunday night.

    "The Nusra Front for the People of the Levant is an independent branch" of al-Qaida, Zawahri said, urging both groups to "stop arguing in this dispute, and to stop the harassment among the Muslims."

    He also said Baghdadi and Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani would continue to head their groups for a year, pending a decision by their respective consultative assemblies.

    The letter's authenticity could not immediately be verified.

    The Nusra Front burst into prominence early last year, when it claimed responsibility for several powerful bombings in the Syrian capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo.

    Since then it has expanded operations nationwide, winning recruits among rebels who see it as the most effective fighting force against Assad's troops, and it has taken a leading role in capturing territory in the north, south and east of Syria.

    Al-Qaida in Iraq, which suffered setbacks before U.S. troops left at the end of 2011, has bounced back with suicide bombings and coordinated attacks this year, including an ambush which killed 48 Syrian soldiers who had fled across the border.

    Iraqi security officials have said since last year that the militants were again active in Iraq's western desert region next to Syria, where cross-border Sunni tribal ties are strong.

    Al-Qaida's Iraqi wing and Syria's Islamist insurgents share a hatred for Assad's Alawite-based power and for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government, which they see as oppressors of Sunnis in both countries.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora