Bernard Haykel on Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State

“IS is a symptom of a deep feeling amongst Sunni Arabs of being disenfranchised. […] It is the same sentiment that led to the emergence of Al-Qaeda.”

Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies elaborates on the root causes for the rise of the Islamic State, as a movement responding to the systemic disenfranchisement of Sunnis in the region.

Professor Haykel also explains why IS surpassed Al Qaeda in popularity and why the Arabian Peninsula has so vigorously supported U.S.- led airstrikes against IS. Professor Haykel describes the crisis of Al Qaeda since the death of Bin Laden, and the succession by al-Zawahiri: “ISIS undermines Al-Qaeda’s claims to being the standard-beared and leader of the jihad.”

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.