Why Zawahri’s Pledge To Taliban Could Be A Boon For IS

fter almost a year of silence, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has released an audio message swearing bay’ah — an oath of allegiance — to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansur, the new leader of the Taliban.

Zawahri’s message is in many ways another response to, and nullification of, the Islamic State (IS) militant group and its claims to have established a “caliphate” in the lands under its control in Iraq and Syria.

In declaring such a “caliphate” in June 2014, IS leader and Zawahri’s archrival Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi confirmed his rejection of Al-Qaeda’s authority — and threatened Al-Qaeda’s dominance of the global jihad movement.