Beyond any doubt, the Syrian civil war has reversed Core al-Qaeda’s waning fortunes and re-energized its one-time Iraqi spear-carrier, the Islamic State—formerly the Islamic State of Iraq al-Sham (ISIS), Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), and before that, al-Qaeda in Iraq (aQI).
The recent expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) into Mosul, Tikrit, Tal Afar, and other areas of Iraq has been accompanied by reports of gruesome violence and serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing relevance of terrorism as a tactic. But it also raises a conceptual question: Is ISIS best described as a terrorist group?
The current conventional wisdom in Washington is that al-Qaeda (AQ) is no longer a real threat and that it has been dismantled by the US drone attacks in conflict areas. That is nothing but wishful thinking and shortsightedness.
In an unexpected and unprecedented turn of events, al-Qaeda members and jihadists from all over the world who embrace the ideology of global jihad are now doubting the group's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and calling for his removal.