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Tags: isis | factions | infighting | sunnis | shiites | kurds | arabs

WaPo: ISIS Fraying as Infighting Among Rival Groups Grows

By    |   Monday, 09 March 2015 07:52 AM EDT

Bloody confrontations among factions fighting on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS) are making a mockery of the group's claim that it unites all Muslims, The Washington Post reported.

Shootouts were said to have taken place between Syrian and Kuwaiti-led factions and between foreign Chechen fighters and Iraqis. Dozens of foreign jihadis have purportedly been killed by the terror group.

Some recent public executions included 120 of its own gunmen, probably because they wanted to escape the fighting, the Post reported. They were charged with espionage — and in one case, smoking.

Special: Find Out Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of ISIS — Click Here

Analysts say that the infighting is weakening the group and its reputation as unbeatable.

The Pentagon has estimated that coalition airstrikes have killed 8,500 ISIS fighters. About 20,000 foreigners are believed to be fighting with ISIS alongside local Iraqi and Syrian Arabs. So far, ISIS setbacks have taken place in non-Sunni areas on the margins of the territory it controls, the Post reported.

ISIS is also said to be having trouble recruiting local Arab gunmen despite offering comparatively large $800 stipends. It has become more reliant on teenage fighters who are more vulnerable to its propaganda.

The group "was never popular but people supported them because they were scared or they needed money," said Ahmed Mhidi, a Syrian who leads an anti-ISIS group in Turkey. "Now people want nothing to do with them, and if the Islamic State puts pressure on them, they just flee," he told the Post.

"The key challenge facing ISIS right now is more internal than external," said Lina Khatib of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.

"We're seeing basically a failure of the central tenet of ISIS ideology, which is to unify people of different origins under the caliphate. This is not working on the ground. It is making them less effective in governing and less effective in military operations," Khatib told the Post.

ISIS, a Sunni group, is fighting on several fronts — against non-Arab Sunni Kurds in northern Syria and northern Iraq, against the mostly Shiite Arab forces fielded by the Iraqi army, and its allied Shiite militias around Tikrit, a Sunni city in Iraq. In Syria, ISIS is battling the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah Shiite militia which supports the Bashar Assad regime.

Thousands of the Muslims from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Arab world have made their way into Syria via Turkey, but don't necessarily want to fight for ISIS. They've come to experience living under ISIS' so-called caliphate, Khatib said.

"Ultimately, they are only attracting people on the margins of society, without much education or useful skills," she said. "It's not exactly bolstering their military capability," the Post reported.

The reports of violent dissension within ISIS are mostly anecdotal and transmitted by groups opposed to it, the Post reported.

Special: ISIS: Everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group — Click Here

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Bloody confrontations among factions fighting on behalf of the Islamic State are making a mockery of the group's claim that it unites all Muslims, The Washington Post reported.
isis, factions, infighting, sunnis, shiites, kurds, arabs
Monday, 09 March 2015 07:52 AM
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