Thomas Joscelyn writes: Al Qaeda has released a message from Ayman al Zawahiri, who rebukes Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and the Islamic State, arguing the so-called “caliphate” is illegitimate. Ever since the rivalry between the two jihadist poles boiled over in early 2014, Zawahiri has allowed others to take the lead in al Qaeda’s attempt to undermine the Islamic State’s credentials. Zawahiri has criticized the Islamic State, but he has not unleashed a full broadside.
In the message released today, however, Zawahiri doesn’t hold back. He emphasizes that al Qaeda doesn’t recognize Baghdadi’s so-called “caliphate,” saying it is not qualified to lead Muslims. [Continue reading…]