Egypt Institute Journal (Vol. 4 – Issue 15) / studies

Ideological Conflict and Division within ISIS

July 2019

Moroccan researcher specializing in Islamic movements

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The waning of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the field of ground fighting, the fall of its strongholds in Iraq and Syria, and the death of most of its leaders are not the only manifestations of a crisis that is ravaging the ranks of the militant organization and threatening its existence. In fact, the cracking in ISIS ideological structure and the sharp division among its leaders, Sharia theorists, preachers and soldiers is the most prominent manifestation of this crisis, especially, that this division was not due to different jurisprudential, strategic or organizational stances or views, but it was due to a conflict in ideological and methodological convictions.

The paper attempts to approach this thorny topic in the light of the following questions:

– What are these differences about and when did they arise within ISIS?

– What are the ideas and convictions of the rival streams?

– What are the causes, background, dimensions and manifestations of this division?

– What is the attitude of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi towards this dispute?

The study aims to shed light on a corner of the Islamic State as long as the militant organization wants it to remain in the shadows, in order to preserve the coherence of its structure and unite its supporters and followers, namely, the ideological conflict and rift between its leaders.

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