Originally posted on Quartz:
A new narrative is emerging about the Jan 7 attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo—that it was spurred, at least in part, by a competition between two terrorist groups. The theory is that Al Qaeda instigated the attack, through its franchise in Yemen, in order to reclaim its position as terrorist top dog from the arrivistes known variously as ISIL, ISIS and the Islamic State.
But the real lesson from Paris is that the distinctions between Al Qaeda and ISIL are immaterial to self-styled jihadis.
At least one of the Kouachi brothers, gunmen in the Paris massacre, traveled to Yemen to train with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, and US officials believe the attack was ordered by the group’s high command. But Amedy Coulibaly, who carried out several other attacks in conjunction with the Kouachis, including taking hostages at a kosher supermarket, had pledged loyalty to ISIL.
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