Al-Nusra Leader Swears Allegiance to Caliph Al-Baghdadi

Note: This video of Abu Ali al-Shishani was originally posted last night (or rather early this morning) on a different channel, and was subsequently taken down. The new version is hosted by another service. Let’s hope it stays up for a while this time.

The Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State are the two most powerful jihad groups in Syria. Until recently they were rivals, and sometimes fought against each other.

On November the 13th 2014, the two groups declared themselves in operational alliance. They promised to stop fighting each other, and said they would coordinate their attacks in some areas of northern Syria, in alliance against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Their cooperation fell short of unifying the rival groups, and experts on the conflict in the Middle East expected that the alliance would in all likelihood soon fall apart.

However, the opposite seems to be the case. In the following video you’ll hear Abu Ali al-Shishani (“The Chechen”), a leader of the Al-Nusra Front, declare his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Caliph of the Islamic State.

The context for the clip is that Mr. al-Shishani is threatening Lebanon and the Shiites for the arrest of his wife and children. In the original news stories about the arrest published early this month, the Muslima in question was said to be the wife of al-Baghdadi. But Abu Ali al-Shishani says that the woman being held in detention is in fact his wife.

Many thanks to ritamalik for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

See last night’s post for the complete video transcript.