It is important to briefly recap the historical background of both organizations. Al Qaeda was created by Osama bin Laden, in 1988 , as a result of the developing jihadism in the context of the Cold War . Its name, ‘Al Qaeda Al Askariya’, which means ‘the military base’, reveals that the organization was created as a military group, initially designed to fight the Soviet-Afghan war , before it became a ‘militant group’ that went to attack the West more generally. Its network developed beyond Afghanistan during the 1990s, and its capacity and dangerousness were tragically experienced in 2001 attacks . From then, the group became known as a “quintessential religious terrorist group”, although it has always had secular, political motivations as well . Following the death o...
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...of apostates and unbelievers. When Alastair Crooke writes that “Al Qaeda is global, ephemeral and virtual, whereas ISIS is territorial” , he is right in a way, although one could say that he is underestimating both Al Qaeda’s durability and operational capacity , and ISIS’s global ambition. Indeed, it would rather seem that both organizations are equally international, as they are constituted of so many different nationalities and have supporter and cells on every continent. Furthermore, both have covet Middle East territories and local partisans, and have ambitions that go beyond the safe heavens they have created for themselves so far, such as establishing their power on the international stage . ISIS may focus more on its domestic policy at the time, but its goals go further than simply controlling an expanding territory, as its growing field of action proves it.
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