If Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri is in fact dead, where will al-Qaida go next and what kind of movement will Zawahri’s successor inherit?
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Ten years later, the man who planned the attack is still at large and heading al-Qaeda.
Editor’s Note: To the surprise of many observers, the al-Qaeda core under Ayman al-Zawahiri has not launched a major terrorist attack in the West for years, and the rise of the Islamic State seemed to signal the group’s further decline. Asfandyar Mir of Stanford argues that this lack of focus is a mistake. He contends that al-Qaeda remains resilient and that the group continues to pose a major terrorism threat.
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After an unprecedented 11 months of silence, Ayman al-Zawahri, the emir of al-Qaida, this week issued a video message proclaiming his loyalty to the new head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. The almost 10-minute long message dramatically reaffirms the alliance between al-Qaida and the Taliban, a setback for efforts to bring the Taliban into a political process.
The emir of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, has not made any public statements since September 2014. His now 11-month long absence is unprecedented. Next month will be a key test for Zawahri: the anniversary of 9/11—a milestone he has spoken out on for years.
Al-Zawahri was chosen by Osama bin Laden to be his successor. A veteran of 35 years of terrorist plotting, the Egyptian has legitimacy and experience. But he has a lot of other baggage too. He is a poor speaker, prone to ideological fights, and lacks bin Laden's charisma.
In this emergency podcast Aaron talks to J.M. Berger about the confirmed death of Mullah Omar. They covered a variety of topics related to his death and what it could mean for the broader Islamic State - Al Qaeda war. We also have a new #SocialMedia segment, covering postings from July 22-28. Links:
Ayman al-Zawahiri is having a bad day.