by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi
March 19, 2014
In the course of the Syrian War, two major factions have emerged who share al-Qaeda’s ideology: Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), which was founded at the beginning of 2012 by Abu Mohammed al-Jowlani, and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS). In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) proposed that JN and ISI merge together. He announced the formation of a new Islamist polity, ISIS, which included territories in Iraq and Syria. Jowlani, however, rejected Baghdadi’s proposal to combine their efforts on the grounds that he was not consulted. In assessing the relationship between JN and ISIS and its implications, it should be noted that the dynamics between the two groups remain very fluid and contained. Open conflict is highly unlikely, and both are likely to maintain their affiliation with al-Qaeda Central.