Self-inflicted Wounds: Debates and Divisions within Al-Qa'ida and Its Periphery   [open pdf - 3MB]

"Self‐Inflicted Wounds: Debates and Divisions within al‐Qa'ida and its Periphery examines the internal, or endogenous, reasons that have hastened the decline of the jihadi movement. In doing so, it exposes the jihadi movement, with al‐Qa'ida at its helm, as one that lacks coherence and unity, despite its claims to the contrary. The report divides the jihadis' endogenous problems into two categories: internal divisions plaguing al‐Qa'ida and the jihadi movement proper; and fault lines dividing the jihadi movement from other Muslim and Islamist actors. The internal jihadi divisions examined in this report include tactical disagreements over takfir (excommunication of Muslims) and the killing of Muslims; strategic disagreements over whether the jihadi struggle should focus on the near enemy (i.e., nominally Muslim regimes) or the far enemy (the United States and its Western allies); friction between jihadi pragmatists and jihadi doctrinarians; rifts between al‐Qa'ida Central and local affiliates; as well as the sometimes tense relations between Arab and non‐Arab members of the jihadi movement. The competition between the jihadis and their Muslim counterparts scrutinizes the jihadis' relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Shi'a community."

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