Debates and Divisions within Al-Qaida

Self Inflicted Wounds

Here is an excellent example of the kind of research that definitely improves our understanding of al Qaida. “ Self Inflicted Wounds: Debates and Divisions within al-Qaida and its Periphery” was released earlier this week and is edited by Assaf Moghadam and Brian Fishman, two of my former colleagues at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. The report offers a systematic and comprehensive examination of the broad range of divisions that contribute to the weakening of the jihadi movement. To that end, it analyzes fissures dividing jihadis themselves as well as divisions separating jihadis from other Muslim and Islamist groups. Intra-jihadi divisions discussed in the report include those over strategic, tactical, and organizational issues. The report then addresses several important case studies of jihadi altercations with other Muslim and Islamist groups of non-jihadi persuasion, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Shiis. The report addresses critical policy issues of relevance to the broader struggle against the global jihadi movement. The editors conclude that these divisions have and continue to weaken al-Qa’ida, but neither in an automatic nor in an exclusive fashion—for these divisions render the global jihadi movement simultaneously vulnerable and more resilient. Co-edited by Assaf Moghadam and Brian Fishman, the report includes contributions by Steven Brooke, Vahid Brown, Mohammed Hafez, Bernard Haykel, Brynjar Lia, Marc Lynch, Reuven Paz, Anne Stenersen, as well as the editors.