MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The scholars told the Guardian that al-Qaeda's leader Ayman Zawahiri had been cut off from his commanders and that al-Qaeda could be considered a functional organization any longer.
"[Zawahiri] operates solely based on the allegiance. There is no organisational structure. There is only communication channels and loyalty," jihadi scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who is reportedly a close friend to Zawahiri, told the newspaper on Wednesday.
Abu Qatada, a Jordanian preacher, told the Guardian that the Islamic State’s ground advances and extensive propaganda had left Zawahiri "isolated."
Abu Qatada, born Omar Mahmoud Othman, is a Sunni cleric of Jordanian-Palestinian origin. Qatada has been repeatedly accused of having links with al-Qaeda and is under a UN-imposed worldwide embargo. In 2013, following ten year of legal battle, he was deported from the United Kingdom to Jordan to face terrorism charges but in June 2014 Jordanian court acquitted him.
ISIL is a Sunni jihadist group that stemmed from al-Qaeda. In 2014 the Islamic State parted from al-Qaeda and launched a massive advance in the Middle East having seized vast lands in Syria and Iraq. Currently, the group’s affiliates also operate in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan.