News / Africa

Al-Qaida Names Egyptian Zawahri as New Leader

Ayman al-Zawahri (file photo)
Ayman al-Zawahri (file photo)

A Jihadist website has announced that Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, is the new leader of al-Qaida, as had been expected since the killing of bin Laden in May.

A web posting Thursday said Zawahri has assumed responsibility for the group, and that there will be no shift in al-Qaida policy. The post said the decision was taken by the general leadership of the group.

Zawahri had been tipped to lead the organization after bin Laden was killed in a U.S. operation in Pakistan six weeks ago.

An associate of bin Laden's since the 1980s, he has been described as the organizational mastermind of the operation, complementing bin Laden's inspirational and financial role.

Al-Qaida Names Egyptian Zawahri as New Leader
Al-Qaida Names Egyptian Zawahri as New Leader

Zawahri released a message earlier this month acknowledging bin Laden's death.  In it, he vowed to continue the path of jihad to expel what he called invaders of Muslim land and to purify it from injustice.

Zawahri, a doctor from a well-to-do Cairo family, first focused his anger on the Egyptian government. He led a militant group there before joining forces with al-Qaida, with its broader focus, in the late 1990s.

His June 8 message reaffirmed the group's focus of anti-Americanism.    

Zawahri said that America is not facing an individual or group, but what he termed a rebelling nation awakening to a jihadist renaissance.

Al-Qaida has been largely sidelined during the popular uprisings that have swept the Arab world in recent months, which for the most part have been calls for political and democratic change. But the organization's offshoot al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has appeared to gain ground during the unrest.

The Yemen-based group had already begun to overshadow the original, with active plots against Western targets and a charismatic leader in Anwar al-Awlaki, even before its adherents captured more territory recently in the politically-unstable Arabian nation.

That could be one of the main challenges facing Zawahri. He is described as soft-spoken and rigidly dogmatic by fellow Islamists.  Moreover, with counter-terrorism efforts greatly limiting al-Qaida's organizational efforts - Zawahri's strength - it has had to rely more on exporting ideas to adherents, usually through bin Laden.

Mohamed Salah, a political analyst with the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, says he expects to see Zawahri intensify his use of the media, through audio or video messages, to fill the void.  Whether he will inspire similar loyalty is unclear.

But as for the loss of bin Laden's ability to provide for al-Qaida financially, Salah believes that the organization has long been running on very meagre resources.

Added to that, he argues, Zawahri's close contacts with the key Egyptian members of al-Qaida make him bin Laden's natural heir.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid