Yesterday evening saw a new message from Sheikh Jowlani of Jabhat al-Nusra, who, while rejecting the Hay'at al-Arkan (SMC, formerly headed by Salim Idriss) and the opposition-in-exile as apostates, nonetheless attacked the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) for its conduct and gave the group 5 days to submit to independent Shari'a judgment. Sheikh Jowlani emphasized that his group is not Sahwa because Jabhat al-Nusra has not abandoned the fight against the Nusayri regime, and he seemingly threatened an expansion into Iraq to challenge ISIS. I have already dealt with Jabhat al-Nusra expansion into Iraq via the border town of Abu Kamal here.
In response, Sheikh Ma'mun Hatem, a qadi of al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, has issued an "urgent call to Amir Jowlani." In my view, his defense of ISIS is an example of the reinforcement of international trends we have already seen in the Nusra-ISIS dispute. While ISIS has enjoyed solidarity from the Sinai, Yemen, Tripoli (Lebanon), Libya and Tunisia (the Ansar ash-Shari'a movements, hence the large number of Tunisian and Libyan fighters who joined ISIS' ranks), Jabhat al-Nusra's primary foreign support base in this dispute comes from Jordan.
Here is my preliminary translation of Sheikh Hatem's message:
"Oh amir [Jowlani], have you considered carefully the consequences of this statement on the jihad in general? Do you know that your brothers in Yemen are striving for a rightly guiding project for justice?
Do you know that your threat amounts to a denial for the Dawla [ISIS] from Iraq to move the Ansar of the Dawla and thus its supporters in the whole world have become enraged?
Do you know that your announcement of war on the Dawla is an announcement of war on al-Qa'ida, for [what] is the Dawla but the fruit of its jihad and the result of its historical destiny?
Have you realized that this declaration of war on your part and your confident threat is a loud call to break the ranks of jihad in the whole world?
Have you realized that whoever does not circulate against it [the ranks of jihad] something like this conspiracy, which lays snares against the Dawla on the pretext of a lack of coming to the path of God, does not vanish in the Ummah?
Oh amir, by God- there is no deity except Him- we will not surrender the Dawla to the plans of the Al al-Salul [House of Saud] and their lackeys and whomsoever you have also regrettably put into their dangerous conspiracy."