ISIS's defeat may strengthen al Qaeda initially

Washington Times:
It’s the terrorist marriage made in hell.

The Islamic State group and al Qaeda, long rivals for supremacy in the jihadi struggle, are feeling more pressure to combine as the Islamic State loses its territorial base in Syria and Iraq and the still-potent terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden prepares to welcome legions of foreign fighters fleeing the advancing U.S.-backed coalition, analysts and officials in the region say.

“The discussion [on combining forces] has started now,” Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi warned this month in an interview with the Reuters news agency.

Born out of al Qaeda’s Iraqi faction that battled U.S. and coalition forces during the bloody years of the American combat mission, the jihadis famously broke with the Pakistani-based terrorist group in 2012 to form the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Two years later, the group would declare a “caliphate,” rename itself the Islamic State and rule a wide swath of the Middle East stretching from its self-styled capital of Raqqa, Syria, to the outskirts of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

But with its fighters near defeat in Mosul and U.S.-led coalition forces preparing for the final assault on Raqqa, the Islamic State is poised to go underground and revert to a classic guerrilla force, analysts say. That opens an avenue for re-establishing links with al Qaeda, which has focused on developing a global network of terrorist “franchises” rather than seeking to control and administer its own territorial state.
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 This is a merger based on weakness.  When companies get in trouble they sometimes look for merger partners to try to save at least a portion of their operations.  That is actually what both sides of this merger would be doing.

The US and its allies need to exploit this merger as evidence that the cause of radical Islam is becoming hopeless.  That is one of the better ways of killing off these Islamic death cults.

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