When Jihadis Kill Jihadis: The Implications of Militant Infighting

Members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces walk inside the stadium that was the site of Islamic State fighters’ last stand in the city of Raqqa, Syria, Oct. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Asmaa Waguih).
Members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces walk inside the stadium that was the site of Islamic State fighters’ last stand in the city of Raqqa, Syria, Oct. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Asmaa Waguih).

This week’s attack against a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, by a radicalized French Muslim illustrates that jihadis, or militant Islamists, still pose a serious threat to national security in the U.S. and Europe. But since late 2013, jihadis have also become a threat to other jihadis, regularly killing each other on battlefields across the Middle East in numbers that have observers talking about a jihadi civil war. In Syria, armed rebels affiliated with al-Qaida and the so-called Islamic State continue to fight each other, while the most potent force battling the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan is the Taliban. […]

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