The Islamic State and al-Qaeda: Possible Directions for 2015

Nusra-training-001.jpg While everyone agrees that the threat from al-Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State (IS) has grown exponentially over the past year, it is unclear what precise direction the two groups will take in the future. No one can, of course, predict with certainty what will occur over the next twelve months, but there are indications from the past that might help us to understand the range of possibilities for future developments.
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13th Issue of AQAP Magazine Specifies Individuals and Companies as Targets, Provides Bomb-Making and Security Bypassing Manuals

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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released the 13th issue of its English magazine "Inspire," wherein it restated that its goal to assist in the “Jihad on America" and provided such information as a detailed manual to make a hidden bomb and a list of specified economic targets. 

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Jihadists Respond to IS’s Capture of Downed Jordanian Pilot with Celebration and Speculation

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Upon the Islamic State’s (IS) capture of a downed Jordanian fighter pilot identified as First Lieutenant Mu’adh Yusuf al-Kasasbeh, jihadists on Twitter have begun celebrating the event and speculating what his treatment will be.

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Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State: Gaging Failure and Success in Online Jihad

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We always hear about the overwhelming social media campaigns by the Islamic State (IS), and how they flood the internet with gruesome images of beheadings, threats, military achievements, and victories. But what about al-Qaeda (AQ) fighters and supporters? After all, geographically speaking, they include a much larger array of areas and groups, from AQ in Afghanistan, Shabaab al-Mujahideen in Somalia, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Algeria, and al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

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Switching Places: New Threats from the Islamic State and Nusra Front

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Over the past few weeks, the insurgent threat from al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s (AQ) affiliate in Syria has grown, even as actions by the Iraqi government, Kurdish forces, and tribal fighters have significantly reduced the territory controlled by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq. The result is that the two fighting groups seem to be changing places in the size and scope of the military threat they present to the region. Meanwhile, the announcement by IS members that the group has built a “dirty bomb” and smuggled it into Europe creates the possibility that IS now presents as great a terrorist danger as the “imminent threat” posed by AQ’s Khorasan Group.

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