, 9 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
1. Jihadists in Syria are extremely fragmented, ideologically and on the ground
2. In 2013 they splintered into an al-Qaeda (AQ) camp and an IS camp and fighters and clerics took sides along those two lines (hardline vs ultra hardline). The jihadist movement was divided but not hugely complicated
3. Since late 2017, a year after Nusra Front announced “amicable” disassociation from AQ, the AQ camp itself fragmented into the camp of AQ loyalists (today under Hurras al-Din) and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). (hardliners vs somewhat pragmatist jihadists)
4. Since then, a lot of the online postings of the clerics and supporters of both camps (formerly AQ camp) have turned into an ideological rivalry about whose manhaj (path based on sharia) is the most sound and worthy of following
5. A similar story happened with the once tight-knit IS camp whose supporters are now constantly paranoid about who’s a real member & supporter and who’s fake
6. These online squabbles among IS supporters appear to reflect some ideological divisions within IS itself (if we don't believe the Turath and Wafa leaks then based on IS retractions in Sep 2017 of a set of ideological stances it had earlier made)
7. These intra-camp divisions (within both IS and AQ) have resulted in nasty wars of words and character assassinations aired online (eg latest between clerics Abu Qatada & Tariq Abd al-Halim)
8. The result: a) these divisions divert the attention and efforts of jihadists online away from promoting their groups & seeking to recruit, to fighting each other;
b) the above point gives jihadists a bad name in the eyes of sympathisers and potential recruits.
9. These internal divisions are far more damaging to jihadists than any external attack or losses on the ground.
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