Al-Qaeda And IS War: We Must Remain Alert

Both ISIS and al-Qaeda will now flex muscles and try to prove who is stronger. We can expect them to plot new outrages everyday.

The United States President Barack Obama called militant outfit al-Qaeda a non-threat in the current terrorism infested scenario. In fact, he went ahead and said that the US will defeat Islamic State in the same manner it did al-Qaeda.

Well, the American President has surely taken a bold step in releasing strong statements against the IS in the wake of beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. But he must not forget that the IS has grown by leaps and bound due to its pan-world presence through internet and other technological means.

The formation of al-Qaeda’s Indian wing and these beheading were essentially connected.

While IS was showing its hatred towards the United States of America for its non-stop bombing on IS militants through abduction and beheading of its citizens, the al-Qaeda was planning on reviving its almost dead base in India.

In the video released by al-Qaeda featuring its chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, the message was loud and clear. The organization wants the Indian youth to join them in their fight, now against the IS, because it cannot overcome the fact that once under its wing, the IS has become stronger.

The al Qaeda has been badly overshadowed by the Islamic State (IS) over the past several months. IS had announced the creation of a caliphate a couple of months ago and did what no other jihadist outfit had ever dared to do – ask the al Qaeda to fall in line and announce its subservience to IS. Of course, al Qaeda never obliged.

But in its course of remaining silent, a bad thing happened. Many Muslims from across the world joined IS and left Qaeda’s hand. This was why al-Zawahiri showed his allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

In its run up to the power seat, the al-Qaeda is actually banking on the unpopular image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for radicalizing youth and the fact that the US considers it weak enough to be ignored.

The bad news is that Pakistan’s ISI supports al-Qaeda and its goal of dethroning Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Both al Qaeda and ISI desperately need diversionary tactics because of their respective strategic compulsions. The move of announcing a new force called “Qaedat al-Jihad” to take jihad to India, Bangladesh and Myanmar is convenient for both entities.

The Indian government’s reaction to al-Qaeda has been quite appropriate. The home ministry is working closely with NSA and other intelligence agencies and a nation-wide alert has been sounded.

With Indian government moving swiftly towards catching any miscreant averting bad situations, the militants and operative groups have also started moving in a fast pace. Both ISIS and al-Qaeda will now flex muscles and try to prove who is stronger. We can expect them to plot new outrages everyday.

India has always been a soft target. We must keep our eyes and ears open.

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