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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid