Al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri has released a video message urging young Muslim men to attack targets in the United States and in Western nations. The video seems to have been made within the last two months and could be a way of diverting the growing rift between IS and Al Qaeda which has seen open reposts by both groups towards the leadership of each.
Zawahiri said, “I call on all Muslims who can harm the countries of the crusader coalition not to hesitate. We must now focus on moving the war to the heart of the homes and cities of the crusader West and specifically America.” The audio was posted online today and hinted that Muslim youth should follow the actions of the Tsarnaev and Kouachi brothers and whose actions caused shock and revulsion globally.
There has been a growing tension between Al Qaeda and IS, particularly since many Al Qaeda fighters have defected and joined groups whose allegiance (or bayat) has been to Al-Baghdadi. Furthermore, over the last 2 weeks supporters of Al-Baghdadi have consistently undermined the religious claim to leadership of Al-Zawahiri, which probably has led to why this video has been released. In it, Zawahiri reiterates his position on the IS regarding the group’s claim of leading the Caliphate as being illegitimate.