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Al Qaeda’s new generation is decentralized and more extremist

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By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem
BEIRUT, Lebanon – On October 8, Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri called for the disbanding of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), declaring that Jabhat al-Nusra is instead Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria. ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi refuted Al-Zawahri’s statement, saying that ISIS will remain in Iraq and Syria.
The conflict between the two branches of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and the public disagreement between Al-Zawahri and Al-Baghdadi show how the group founded and led by Osama Bin Laden has entered a new, sprawling phase after his death.

In the past two decades, the Al Qaeda organization underwent three basic phases in which it became more prominent and grew structurally, sub-divided into many different branches and solidified its strategies and tactics.
The first phase was its founding in Afghanistan in the late 1980s by Palestinian militant Abdallah Azzam and Saudi militant Osama Bin Laden. The organization became more crystallized …