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The Crisis in the Syrian Arena of Jihad

During the first half of April 2013, a rift was exposed between the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, and the Islamic State of Iraq, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq. The rift became clear after the cold response given by Abu Muhammad al-Golani, leader of the Al-Nusra Front, to the declaration by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, in which he unilaterally proclaimed a merger between the branches under the organization’s leadership in Iraq.

Following the declaration, al-Golani was quick to pledge allegiance directly to the leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in order to stress his devotion and subordination to the “parent” organization, first and foremost. In his pledge to al-Zawahiri, it was hard not to notice al-Golani’s reservations regarding al-Baghdadi’s action, since he [al-Golani] emphasized that he is not subordinate to any jihadist organization, but rather only to the leadership of Al-Qaeda.

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