„As counterintuitive as it may sound, ISIL will still be stronger than Al Qaeda in Syria even after the former is dislodged from Mosul and Raqqa. Many counterterrorism experts have argued in recent months that it is time to turn attention towards Syria’s Jabhat Fateh Al Sham, formerly known as Jabhat Al Nusra, as it is now the more dangerous group. This is the reverse logic to countless statements in 2014 suggesting Al Qaeda had been eclipsed by the Iraqi ISIL.
Yet the suggestion that ISIL will still be stronger than JFS even if it loses its major strongholds does not mean Al Qaeda is less dangerous, and that is the point – it does not have to be a choice between one group or the other. The two organisations should be viewed as two threats emanating from two fronts. The binary often leads to what I call „cyclical punditry“, whereby commentators shift from one extreme assertion to another and back to the first one depending on how events unfold.“ (Hassan Hassan: „Al Qaeda and ISIL are still potent forces in Syria“)