A recent suicide bombing in southern Syria shows the rivalry between Al Qaeda and ISIS is more than just a contest to see who can kill the most infidels — the groups are using classic terror techniques on each other.
The Nov. 15 bombing came at a top-level meeting of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a key ISIS militia known for its bloody and vicious hold over parts of the Golan Heights. Six of the group’s top men were killed, including Muhammad “Abu Ali” al-Baridi, the shadowy head of the group who went by the nickname “The Uncle.”
Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, quickly took credit, gloating on Twitter about the “heroic” attack.
“The Islamic State [ISIS], that controls the closest area to the Israel border in the Syrian Golan Heights, suffered a severe blow and lost its entire top command in the area in one fell swoop,” noted Alex Fishman, a veteran military correspondent for Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.
Al Qaeda and ISIS, which broke off from the former group, have made a show of hating each other as each fought for leadership of the jihad against the infidels — essentially everyone who’s not them. Al Qaeda’s allies, the Taliban, even declared a jihad against ISIS, which ISIS reciprocated. I had sometimes wondered if this wasn’t for show, to hide the level of cooperation and fool Western analysts.
But, given this development (and assuming it was really al Nusra), it looks like the spat between them is real — and will only get worse when ISIS inevitably retaliates. This is a culture of honor and shame, and the “Caliph” cannot let this blow to his authority go unavenged.
And I plan to sit back and enjoy the show.