Arndt von Loringhoven, NATO’s assistant secretary general for intelligence and security, warned of Al Qaeda’s active attempts to regain its primacy over international militancy, as the Islamic State loses ground. At an annual security conference of the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, the alliance’s assistant secretary general revealed a potentially increased risk to the West from the Al Qaeda’s rivalry with the Islamic State; yet emphasized that despite its combat losses, the Islamic State has small success in bolstering its capabilities, including by attracting fresh recruits, among them women and children.
“ISIS-Daesh weakening has provided al Qaeda with an opportunity to attempt to regain its former status. While ISIL-Daesh has occupied the world’s attention for the last four-five year, al Qaeda has been quietly rebuilding its global networks and capabilities.” / “Rather like ISIL-Daesh, al Qaeda’s strategic aim is to regain leadership of like-minded militants and extremists. The competition for legitimacy, affiliates and recruits among the two major global extremist groups potentially increases the terrorism threat to NATO and our partners,” Arndt Von Loringhoven, Senior NATO official.
Von Loringhoven further revealed that NATO estimates that the Islamic State’s peak strength of around 39,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq had been halved to between 18 and 20 thousands, most of them dispersed around the Iraq and Syria and “gone underground.”