Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Al-Qaida, ISIS Like Two Chicago Mob Families, House Chairman Says (Video)

(Photo courtesy Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor)

(Photo courtesy Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor)

There is a popular sentiment about ISIL (also known as ISIS), the radical group tearing across Iraq, that it was the brutality of the group’s tactics that led to a divorce with al-Qaida. Not so, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers said Wednesday.

The Republican from Michigan said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington that al-Qaida — which conducts beheadings and flies planes into buildings — wasn’t too worried about ISIL’s brutality. Instead, it was a dispute over whether it was too soon to do things like take over territory, establish a caliphate and launch attacks on the West.

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s thinking was to bide time carefully, while ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was aggressive, he said. Therefore, Rogers said, Zawahiri’s move was if “we can’t control you, we’re not going to make you a part of the group.”

“What I think he underestimated is that these folks were winning on the battlefield,” Rogers said. “That in and of itself attracts other jihadists, because they want to be a part of the winning team.”

Now, he said, ISIL, “drunk on their success,” controls so much territory that if Zawahiri were to visit Baghdad, he might have to do so in a supplicating role.

Overall, the relationship is one of rivalry and some respect; Rogers compared it to two Chicago mob families that use the same tactics and have the same goals, and will work together when it suits their needs.

If the United States is to sway things in Iraq, it will have to start by weakening ISIL’s power base in eastern Syria and giving Baghdad room to come up with a political reconciliation — perhaps via airstrikes, although that call should be made by the military, Rogers said.

And he doesn’t blame the intelligence community for any kind of surprise.

“This is not an intelligence failure,” he said. “This is a foreign policy failure of the magnitude that will risk the national security of America.”

Comments (9)

  1. Jack Everett

    June 26, 2014
    10:39 a.m.

    You can smell the desperation with wing nuts when they use church pulpits for campaign speeches.

  2. Roberto M

    July 3, 2014
    6:42 p.m.

    You can smell the desperation of left wing kooks when they can’t even tell the difference between The Christian Science Monitor, which is a news organization and a Christian Science church in which Rogers came nowhere near.

  3. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    6:08 a.m.

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and in depth information you provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  4. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    2:45 p.m.

  5. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    10:43 a.m.

    Hello there, I discovered your site via Google whilst looking for a similar subject, your site got here up, it seems to be great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  6. Anonymous

    Aug. 6, 2015
    3:54 a.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  7. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    4:07 a.m.

    Very good written post. It will be helpful to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – for sure i will check out more posts.

  8. Anonymous

    Aug. 9, 2015
    10:47 p.m.

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for putting up. “The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.” by George Baker.

  9. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    4:19 p.m.

    I’m impressed, I need to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you have got hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the problem is one thing that not enough people are talking intelligently about. I’m very pleased that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...