Insiders say group has been drained of Middle East recruits and that US wrongfooted by shift in balance of power between warring jihadi groups.
Two of al-Qaida’s most important spiritual leaders have told the Guardian that the terror group is no longer a functioning organisation after being ripped apart by Isis. In a wide-ranging interview, Abu Qatada, a Jordanian preacher who was based in London before being deported in 2013, and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, regarded as the most influential jihadi scholar alive, say the al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is cut off from his commanders and keeping the group afloat through little more than appeals to loyalty.
Senior insiders in Jordan add that al-Qaida around the Middle East has been drained of recruits and money after losing territory and prestige to its former subordinate division. The ongoing war between al-Qaida and Isis has left the US struggling to catch up with the tectonic shifts within the global jihadi movement, intelligence insiders told the Guardian.[COLOR=#222222][FONT=Tahoma]
Spencer Ackerman, Shiv Malik, Ali Younes and Mustafa Khalili @TheGuardian