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However, “Islamic State” (IS), an amorphous, seemingly nomadic group, is perhaps the paradigmatic terror group of the 21st century, troubling the conventional notion of the nation-state and territorial governance.
Where Al-Qaeda was a similarly distended, influential force, IS, which originally was confined to Iraq and Syria but has since expanded its operations, is not content to practice a type of war of the spectacle that relies on covert tactics.
Interview published by Egypt Daily News - Five years ago, no one would have expected that a terror group would seize a piece of land the size of one third of Iraq, use social media to promote its propaganda, operate hospitals and universities, and run an oil business to fund itself.
These are features typically confined to the purview of the state and its infrastructure networks.
Osama Bin Laden arrived to Afghanistan among thousands of militants aiming to defeat the “atheist Soviet Union”.
Later, the core aim of Al-Qaeda was to attack Western targets with the goal of uniting all Muslims against “their enemies”.
“Al-Qaeda, at the time still led by Osaba Bin Laden, felt the necessity to open an Iraqi branch and so contacted Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian jihadist well-known to Bin Laden because of his experience in Afghanistan.They succeed so well that after a few months, this cell, led by the Syrian jihadist Abu Mohammed Al-Julani and now called the Al-Nusra Front, became the strongest rebel group in Syria: well armed and trained.The situation in Syria, in fact, proved to favour such groups.IS has prioritised territorial holdings, using media professionally, funding itself by its own projects and claiming overseas operations carried out by those who have pledged allegiance to its cause.A genealogy of “Islamic State” The formation of both groups also gives an idea about the difference of their strategic views.