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10 Reasons Why ISIS Is More Dangerous Than al-Qaida

Image: 10 Reasons Why ISIS Is More Dangerous Than al-Qaida
(Militant Website, File)

By    |   Thursday, 08 Jan 2015 08:23 AM

Following Wednesday's terrorist attack in Paris that killed at least 12 people at the offices of a satirical magazine, suspicion immediately fell on ISIS — a militant organization far more dangerous than al-Qaida ever has been.

ISIS, which now calls itself the Islamic State, actually began as an al-Qaida splinter group. But al-Qaida renounced any ties to ISIS in February 2014, in part due to ISIS' brutal attacks on civilians.

Significant differences between the two terrorist organizations point to a number of reasons why ISIS poses a greater threat than al-Qaida. Here's a look at 10:

1. ISIS has taken control of large areas of Syria and Iraq, giving it what amounts to a state within which to operate. Al-Qaida never enjoyed such a vast safe haven.

2. ISIS is better funded than al-Qaida. At first ISIS brought in revenue from robbery, extortion, and ransoms, but since then they have been collecting huge sums of revenue from oil fields they have seized.

In July 2014, ISIS took control of Syria's largest oil field, which can produce 75,000 barrels of oil a day, and later that month seized a natural gas field in Syria. The group has seized oil fields in Iraq as well.

It sells the oil on the black market and brings in an estimated $3 million a day, making it the richest terrorist organization in history.

Also, ISIS raided the main bank in Mosul after it captured the Iraqi city, seizing some $430 million.

3. While the United States has consistently sought to take out al-Qaida leaders and their supporters, America has not directly targeted ISIS' superstructure and instead launched peripheral attacks on its forces — what President Barack Obama has termed "targeted airstrikes" to protect U.S. personnel from ISIS fighters.

Institute for Policy Studies fellow Phyllis Bennis told The New York Times: "It should be eminently clear that we cannot bomb Islamic extremists into submission or disappearance. Every bomb recruits more supports."

4. Al-Qaida did have supporters in many nations, but never comprised more than a cadre of dedicated terrorist. ISIS, on the other hand, has assembled much larger armed forces, including significant numbers of militants from other countries including not only Muslim nations but also France, Britain, and other European countries.

In September, the CIA announced that the number of people fighting for ISIS could be more than three times the previous estimates, and said the group could muster as many as 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.

5. Unlike al-Qaida, ISIS includes large numbers of well-trained military personnel. Unable to serve under the new Iraqi government after Saddam Hussein's military was disbanded, many former Iraqi soldiers became ISIS fighters. In addition, significant numbers of U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers have deserted their government units and gone over to the ISIS side.

6. Al-Qaida never sought to establish a state and operated as an underground terrorist organization. ISIS not only controls hundreds of square miles in the Middle East, it also seeks to expand its territory, stating that it intends to establish a "caliphate" that would claim authority over all Muslims.

7. Al-Qaida limited its attacks to strikes against strategic targets it perceived as anti-Islamic. Sunni-led ISIS has ruthlessly slaughtered civilians, including Iraqi and Syria Christians and even Shiite Muslims.

In just one example, the Iraqi government announced in November that ISIS militants had killed 322 members of the Albu Nimr tribe in a series of executions.

8. ISIS threatens to seize Baghdad, a feat never contemplated by al-Qaida, as ISIS forces move in on the Iraqi capital. An ISIS takeover could place the entire nation under ISIS control, or force the United States and its allies to return in force to battle the ISIS militants.

9. Al-Qaida's weapon of choice has for the most part been the suicide bombing, with the 9/11 hijackings being the exception. ISIS has amassed large quantities of sophisticated weapons, many of them U.S.-supplied arms ISIS seized when Iraqi army units fled in the face of ISIS advances in June.

Also, members of the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army have switched allegiances and joined ISIS, bringing their weapons with them.

10. Al-Qaida forces, including Osama bin-Laden, were almost certainly shielded surreptitiously by authorities in Pakistan, but ISIS has enjoyed the direct support of a U.S. ally — NATO member Turkey.

Turkey "rolled out the red carpet" to ISIS jihadists fighting the Syrian government, The
Washington Post reported.

Wounded ISIS fighters were treated at Turkish hospitals, and Turkish border towns became way stations for moving foreign fighters and weapons into Syria.

The Post observed that ISIS forces "were able to grow in power partly by using the border region of a NATO member as a strategically vital supply route and entry point to wage their war."

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Following Wednesday's terrorist attack in Paris that killed at least 12 people at the offices of a satirical magazine, suspicion immediately fell on ISIS — a militant organization far more dangerous than al-Qaida ever has been. Here are 10 reasons why.
isis, dangerous, al qaida
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2015-23-08
Thursday, 08 Jan 2015 08:23 AM
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