An image released on July 28, 2016 by Al-Manara al-Bayda, the official news arm of Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, allegedly shows the group's chief Abu Mohammad al-Jolani at an undisclosed location, in the first ever picture to be released of him.
The Al-Nusra Front - which is expected to announce its break from Al-Qaeda - is a jihadist group allied with rebels fighting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Al-Nusra, an offshoot of the Islamic State in Iraq, Al-Qaeda's former Iraqi affiliate, first emerged in January 2012 -- 10 months after the start of anti-government protests that were brutally repressed by the Assad regime, leading to a multi-sided conflict which continues today. The Arabic writing reads: "Soon, a televised speech by Sheikh Abu Mohammad al-Jolani.” / AFP PHOTO / Al-Manara Al-Baydaa / Handout

Gareth Porter – The sham rebrand of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front

The Nusra Front’s adoption of the new name Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and claim that it has separated itself from al-Qaeda was designed to influence US policy, not to make the group any more independent of al-Qaeda. The objective of the manoeuvre was to head off US-Russian military cooperation against the jihadist group, renamed last week, based at least in part on the …

The US is Now Confronted by the Same Sectarian Strife in the Middle East That It Fostered By GARY LEUPP

For years now, the global jihadist movement centered in the Middle East has been split into two broad factions, represented by the al-Qaeda franchise on the one hand, and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) on the other. The latter is rooted, in part, in the Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad group founded by the Jordanian Bedouin Abu Musab …

FOREIGN POLICY DIARY ‘INSTABILITY ZONE CAUCASUS’ – US-NATO’S WAR INSIDE RUSSIA

ISIS has been raising presence in the Caucasus. On June 23, 2015 ISIS announced the creation of a new governorate, called Wilayat Qawqaz in the Russias North Caucasus, after several senior militants in the area pledged allegiance to ISIS. ISIS has been setting conditions to establish this governorate in support of its regional expansion campaign since at least January 2015. …

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Council on Foreign Relations: Support Al Qaeda to Defeat ISIS

The Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington DC think tank with large influence over U.S. foreign policy, is once again calling on the Obama administration to support Al Qaeda terrorists under the guise of defeating the Islamic State. In an article entitled, Accepting Al Qaeda: The Enemy of the United States’ Enemy, Foreign Affairs writer Barak Mendelsohn argues that the United …