The video, released on November 21 and titled “A Statement about What was Contained in the Speech of Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ‘Even If the Disbelievers Despise Such,'” served as a response to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s recent speech, titled “Even If the Disbelievers Despise Such.” In the response, Nadhari challenged the IS Caliphate as invalid:
Nadhari also restated AQAP’s allegiance to AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“Contrary to recent media reports, AQAP’s harsh criticism of the Islamic State and its leader serves as further proof AQ and IS cannot and will not work together,” says SITE Director Rita Katz.
“Islamic State supporters reacted very angrily to the AQAP criticism of the group,” Katz follows up. “This message might have opened a new round in the fight between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.”
Fighters and supporters have made harsh statements and exchanges regarding the matter on social media, with AQ supporters calling the statement deserved while IS supporters claimed that AQAP—and AQ for that matter—has lost its way.
The Twitter account of “Stop da Fanboyism” tweeted that AQAP’s statement had come after a long period of abuse by IS, stating:
To these tweets, user “khilafah witness” rebutted that AQAP had made the same divisive moves in the past, stating, “lol so they were NOT fools when they were with AQAP ? Ehh. Dude u need to shut up lol.”
The same user made an undirected tweet, repeating the same concern:
One pro-AQ user under the name “Abu Jihad” even poked fun at previous predictions that AQAP was going to formally give support to IS. He tweeted:
Other jihadists and jihadist supporters claimed that AQAP’s move would indirectly benefit Western agendas by further dividing the jihadist movement. User “Moroccan Khalid” stated in two tweets:
Similarly, other users posted, “So AQAP, side with the enemy of IS to destroy them,” and “Truly disgusting & despicable to see AQAP pleasing the kuffar and their analysts and journalists with their lastest release!”
In other displays of anger at AQAP’s statement, jihadists and jihadist supporters also began to question the motives and effectiveness of AQAP and other AQ-aligned groups, including al-Nusra Front. One user, “Epic,” tweeted, “What is the purpose of JN and AQAP? What are they trying to achieve?”
Another user, “Abdulrahman Muhajir,” posted “From an analytical perspective Al Qaeda is not the same as before especially afyer the passing of Usamah ibn Laadin.”
Reactions also gave way to disappointment as much as anger among IS-supporters. User “Abu Dhar Al Amiriki” tweeted: