Difference between ISIS and Al Qaeda

Key Difference: ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. ISIS is primarily known for a series of videos showing beheadings of soldiers, civilians, journalists, and aid workers. ISIS started out as al-Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Qaeda is a global militant Islamist organization headed by Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda has carried out many attacks on targets including the September 11 attacks.

While terrorism has always been an issue, it had really become a worldwide problem within the last decade. This is due to militant groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, Taliban, etc.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. However, the group is commonly also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The group's Arabic name is transliterated as ad-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī al-‘Irāq wash-Shām leading to the Arabic acronym Da‘ish or DAESH. Also, in June 2014, the group officially changed its name to Islamic State (IS). However, this name has been widely criticized and condemned, with the UN and various other governments, and mainstream Muslim groups have refused to use it.

ISIS controls territory in Syria and Iraq, and has additional territories in eastern Libya, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, and other areas of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The UN has accused ISIS of human rights abuses and war crimes. Amnesty International has reported ethnic cleansing by the group on a "historic scale".  In the western world, ISIS is primarily known for a series of videos showing beheadings of soldiers, civilians, journalists, and aid workers.

With these actions, ISIS hopes to establish an Islamic caliphate, which means an Islamic state under the rule of a caliph, i.e. a person accepted to be a political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad. As caliphate, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.

ISIS started out as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999. It then changed its name to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn—commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). It pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004. It eventually disobeyed orders from al-Qaeda, which led to a break between the two groups in February 2014 after an eight-month power struggle. Al-Qaeda cut all ties with ISIL, citing its failure to consult and "notorious intransigence".

Al-Qaeda is a global militant Islamist organization that started in between August 1988 and late 1989. It was started by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, and several other militants who were at the time fighting in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. It was at this time that its leaders came to believe that they must protect Islam from the infidels. Al-Qaeda also seeks to set up a worldwide caliphate headed by Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda also opposes what it regards as man-made laws, and wants to replace them with a strict form of sharia law.

Al-Qaeda, whose name means "The Base", operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army. It has been labeled as an Islamist, extremist, wahhabi, jihadist group. The United Nations Security Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the European Union, the United States, Russia, India and various other countries have designated Al-Qaeda as a terrorist organization.

Al-Qaeda has carried out many attacks on targets it considers kafir, basically "unbeliever," "disbeliever," or "infidel." Al-Qaeda is notoriously infamous for the September 11 attacks on US soil, which has been designated as the deadliest terrorist attack of our time. It has also mounted attacks on civilian and military targets in various other countries, including the 1998 US embassy bombings and the 2002 Bali bombings. Al-Qaeda leaders also regard liberal Muslims, Shias, Sufis and other sects as heretics and have attacked their mosques and gatherings.

In response to the September 11 attacks, the US has lunched the "War on Terror" also known as the “Global War on Terrorism,” which many other counties have also joined. This eventually culminated in the death of loss of key leaders, including the death of its leader Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda is currently leaded by Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Today, ISIS and al-Qaeda compete for influence over Islamist extremist groups around the world. Some experts believe ISIS may overtake al-Qaeda as the most influential group in this area globally.

Comparison between ISIS and Al Qaeda:

 

ISIS

Al Qaeda

Also Known As

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)

ad-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī al-‘Irāq wash-Shām (Da‘ish or DAESH)

Islamic State (IS)

al-Qaida

al-Qa'ida

Dates of operation

1999 – present

1988–present

Type

Rebel group controlling territory

Islamist group

Ideology

Extremist Islamism

Wahhabi

Salafist Jihadism

The ideology followed by Al-Qaeda members is based on Sharia law and influenced by the writings of Sayyad Qutb or "qutbism". Other ideological categories include Islamism; Islamic fundamentalism; Sunni Islam; Pan-Islamism; Salafism; Wahabism.

Description

An Islamist rebel group that controls territory in Iraq and Syria and also operates in eastern Libya, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, and other areas of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

A global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, and several other militants. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and an Islamist, extremist, wahhabi, jihadist group.

Designation

The United Nations has held ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes, and Amnesty International has reported ethnic cleansing by the group on a "historic scale".

It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the European Union, the United States, Russia, India and various other countries.

Participated in

Participant in the Iraq War (2003–2011) and Insurgency (2011–present), the Syrian Civil War and its spillover, the 2014 Libyan Civil War, the Sinai insurgency, the War in Afghanistan (2015–present), the War in North-West Pakistan, and the al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen.

Participant in the Global War on Terrorism, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, the Syrian Civil War, and the Arab Spring

Target of

Primary target of the Military intervention against ISIL, the interventions in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Iranian and Turkish interventions, and the Global War on Terrorism

United Nations Security Council, NATO

Leaders

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Muslim al-Turkmani: Deputy leader in Iraq

Abu Ali al-Anbari: Deputy leader in Syria

Abu Ayman al-Iraqi: Head of Military Shura

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani: Spokesman

Abu Omar al-Shishani: Field commander

Osama bin Laden (1988–2011)

Ayman al-Zawahiri (2011–present)

Areas of operation

Iraq and Syria. After a series of expansions, as of November 2014, it claims provinces and controls territory in Iraq, Syria, Sinai, and eastern Libya. ISIL also claims provinces and has members in Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Turkey, but it does not control territory in these areas.

Worldwide. Al-Qaeda has carried out attacks in the US, Yemen, India and Europe.

Goals

The foundation of an Islamic state. Specifically, ISIL has sought to establish itself as a caliphate, an Islamic state led by a group of religious authorities under a supreme leader—caliph—who is believed to be the successor to Muhammad.

Al-Qaeda ideologues envision a complete break from all foreign influences in Muslim countries, and the creation of a new worldwide Islamic caliphate.

Crimes

The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, India, and Russia.

Al-Qaeda has mounted attacks on civilian and military targets in various countries, including the September 11 attacks, the 1998 US embassy bombings and the 2002 Bali bombings.

Image Courtesy: pri.org, notizienazionali.net

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