Those looking for insight into the fierce rivalry between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State will want to read a Washington Post interview with a 35-year-old named Mohammed al-Masri. He happens to be the son of Abu Khabab al-Masri, a chemist known as Osama bin Laden's bombmaker who was killed by a US drone strike in 2008. His father's old group, al-Qaeda, is now in a pitched battle with ISIS to become the world's dominant jihadi group, and "perhaps more than any other militant in Syria, Masri personifies this generational conflict," write Souad Mekhennet and Greg Miller. That's because Masri actually joined ISIS in 2013, only to become disillusioned.
"It was not that they beheaded someone who committed a crime—that was not my issue with them," he says. "It was the way they governed." When he refused to make propaganda videos denouncing al-Qaeda or take part in attacks against the group, Masri ended up under house arrest before allies helped him escape. The interview includes childhood recollections of meeting bin Laden himself ("He was very relaxed, very polite and down-to-earth. He didn't like to talk badly about people"); a defense of his father ("He used his knowledge to defend the oppressed"); and a condemnation of US policies in the Mideast ("As much as I despise ISIS for the way they treat people, one of the reasons they became so powerful was because of the West"). Click for the full story.