• September 10, 2015
  • On The Record With Greta Van Susteren - FOX News

Al Qaeda Versus ISIS Rift on the Eve of 9/11

Robert J. O'Neill On the Record

“The First Battle Against Terror Took Place by the Passengers on Flight 93.”

It’s the eve of 9/11 and the chatter is hard to ignore: the riff between al Qaeda and ISIS is growing deeper. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is taking aim at ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling the Islamic State illegitimate.

At the same time, Zawahiri also admits a willingness to team with ISIS in the interest of destroying the West.

The man who fired the fatal shot on al Qaeda’s former leader, Osama bin Laden, sits down with FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren to shed light on the complex commonalities and differences between these two factions.

O’Neill: “There’s been sort of a rift there, which is odd because these are both the same forms of Salafi Sunni Islam that generates out of Saudi Arabia. When Osama bin Laden was the Emir of al Qaeda, a guy named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi took a group…he called it al Qaeda in Iraq, which now is ISIS. Once Osama bin Laden was killed, Ayman al-Zawahiri took over as the Emir and just being an Egyptian somehow spun them wrong, so he formed ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).

Zawahiri kind of had a riff with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is now the proclaimed or elected khalif in charge of the Islamic State. Zawahiri didn’t like it. A couple of years ago he told them to maintain just in Iraq. They moved to Syria. Now we’ve got two rival factions sort of with the same goal. They’re just now saying they want to fight ISIS because they’re looking for publicity. Ultimately, they want funding from places like Saudi Arabia.”

Van Susteren: “Unbelievable. How about the al Queda hit list that includes entrepreneurs, famous Americans (namely, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Koch brothers).”

O’Neill: “They’re doing that just to scare people into doing investments and worry about Wall Street, things like that. A good example of domestic terrorism. When was the last time there was a bomb threat and then a bomb went off? It doesn’t happen that way. They’re just trying to incite stuff.”

Van Susteren: “It’s the eve of 9/11 and we have a live picture of Shanksville, PA. There’s a candlelight vigil for Flight 93. Look at that…I bet all those people are thinking about your team.”

O’Neill: “That’s an incredible place because that’s where the first actual battle of the war on terror took place with those passengers on Flight 93, as they took down the plane headed to Washington either to hit the Capitol or the White House.”