Reading Kadyrov in al-Sham: ‘Adnan Hadid on Chechnya, Syria, and al-Qaida’s Strategic Failure

In his recent article for Jihadica, Aaron Zelin proposed the emergence of a tripolar jihadi world consisting of al-Qaeda (AQ), the Islamic State (IS), and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). While the first two poles are competing for the legitimacy and leadership of global jihadism, HTS has already departed the global arena and focused its efforts on running its proto-state in Idlib, Syria. Disputes between the three poles are intractable due to the ideological intransigence of IS and, to a lesser degree, of AQ, in addition to the political pragmatism of HTS, which has been conceived by the other poles as a deviation from the “right” path. Understandably, a group like AQ, which perceives itself as the pioneer of jihadi Salafism, believes in its right to represent and lead the movement as was its role before the emergence of IS and HTS. This belief can be seen in the writings of

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