We have reported fairly extensively here on SOFREP about the Islamist rebels in Syria, but most of our reporting has been on their battlefield actions and some of their internet announcements and letters. Here we have an interview with Sheikh Abu Sulayman Al-Muhajir (Abu Sulayman The Immigrant), an Al Qaeda cleric who recruited for Al Qaeda in Sydney, Australia before emigrating to Syria to join Jabhaat al Nusra. It’s a long watch, but it provides some definite insights into not only the dispute between Al Nusra and ISIS, but also the inner workings of Al Qaeda in general.
Abu Sulayman claimed he originally arrived in Syria to help adjudicate the dispute between Al Nusra and ISIS, but he has clearly taken the Al Nusra side. Notice that everything is backed up either by Hadith (which is Muslim scripture every bit as important as the Quran), as well as Quranic passages (Which, in an all-English interview, are recited in Arabic. According to Muslim teaching, the Quran is only to be read in Arabic.).
Obviously, there is a fair bit of Al Nusra propaganda in Abu Sulayman’s words. Note how the command dispute between Al Nusra and ISIS is couched in terms of Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic principles, thus making Al Nusra the “good” Muslims, and ISIS “bad” Muslims, and, in Abu Sulayman’s words on at least one occasion, “evil.”
There is also reference at least once to the rampant conspiracy-mongering in the Arab world, with the discussion of the split between Al Qaeda-linked groups being somehow orchestrated by the West. This sort of conspiracy theory has been seen before, dating back before even 9/11.
The interconnectedness of Al Qaeda as an organization is also highlighted. There was some speculation a number of years ago that AQ had become little more than a brand name, and that new groups popping up with names like Al Qaeda in Iraq and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were just wannabes, but the recent interactions between Core Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and ISIS, backed up by Abu Sulayman’s statements definitely have put the lie to that speculation. AQ is still a transnational organization with some degree of coordination and support between its regional affiliates.