Friday, June 17, 2011

al-Qaeda still a threat after Zawahiri promotion

Ayman al-Zawahiri the man most commonly referred to as al Qaeda's number two has taken the helm of the terrorist organisation. Since 1998, al-Zawahiri had been Osama bin Laden's personal physician and one of his closest confidants, but following the death of bin Laden there have been few indications as to who might take on his role.

Although al-Zawahiri was a clear choice some have suggested he is not best suited for the position and his leadership role may create ripples with al-Qaeda itself.

An unnamed US official said that al-Zawahiri had "nowhere near" bin Laden's credentials and that "his ascension to the top leadership spot will likely generate criticism if not alienation and dissension with al-Qaeda."

Al-Zawahiri certainly lacks the charisma and oratory of Osama bin Laden, but al-Qaeda with its new number one still poses a risk. In a video eulogy al-Zawahiri threatens to pursue Osama bin Laden's jihad against the West. "We will pursue the jihad until we expel the invaders from Muslim lands," he was quoted as saying in a video titled "The Noble Knight Dismounted".

The response from US officials has been one of condemnation and a reiteration to continue to battle al-Qaeda and their affiliates. "As we did both seek to capture and kill - and succeed in killing - bin Laden, we certainly will do the same thing with Zawahiri," Washington's top military officer Admiral Mike Mullen said. In fact the FBI has already placed a $25 million reward on al-Zawahiri's head [BBC / CNN / Sky Newsal Jazeera / France 24 / RTXinhua / Press TV].

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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