Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Al-Qaida's New Battle Hardened, Difficult Leader
By IPT News @ 12:58 PM :: 5310 Views :: National News, Ethics, World News, Family

IPT News May 3, 2011

In the wake of Osama bin Laden's demise, his likely successor is his longtime deputy and collaborator, Egyptian jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri. The U.S. government has offered a reward of up to $25 million for Zawahiri, who officials have said was responsible for the planning of 9/11, the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

It remains to be seen whether Zawahiri will be able to recruit and inspire a new generation of jihadists the way bin Laden did. Veteran observers of al-Qaida say bin Laden was a media-savvy, charismatic figure and a good listener. Zawahiri, by contrast, has a record "of alienating his colleagues, fighting over dogma, even within the Islamist movement," said journalist Steve Coll. "And as a communicator, he is less effective. His books are turgid and dogmatic." During a recent online chat with fellow jihadists, Zawahiri sounded "defensive and argumentative. He sounded unappealing as a leader."

Shortly after 9/11, Zawahiri and bin Laden appeared together on video discussing the suicide attacks. "This was not just a human achievement. It was a holy act," Zawahiri said. "These 19 brave men who gave their lives for the cause of God will be well taken care of. God granted them the strength to do what they did. There's no comparison between the power of these 19 men and the power of America, and there's no comparison between the destruction these 19 men caused and the destruction America caused."

In 1998, Zawahiri wrote in the jihadist journal Al-Mujahidoun that "America is now controlled by the Jews, completely." He added that the United States "uses Israel to attack its neighbors and to slaughter those who are living peacefully there." According to Zawahiri, "If we are a nation of martyrs – as we claim – all that we need is courage of heart and the will of killers and the belief in what we claim to be love of death for God's sake."

Born in Egypt on June 19, 1951, Zawahiri came from a family of doctors and religious scholars. His father was a pharmacology professor at Cairo University and his grandfather was grand imam of al-Azhar University, long an ideological center for Islamism.

Zawahiri joined the Muslim Brotherhood as an adolescent. He was arrested by the Egyptian government in 1996 for forming an underground Muslim Brotherhood cell. That same year, the Egyptian government, headed by Gamal Abdel Nasser, executed Brotherhood theoretician Sayyid Qutb.

"The Nasserite regime thought that the Islamic movement received a deadly blow with the execution of Sayyid Qutb and his comrades," Zawahiri later wrote. "But the apparent surface calm concealed an immediate interaction with Sayyid Qutb's ideas and the formation of the nucleus of the modern Islamic movement in Egypt."

Nasser died in 1970, and his successor, President Anwar Sadat, attempted to co-opt the Brotherhood, releasing many of the group's members from jail. They were permitted to preach their doctrine, so long as they didn't resort to violence. They used their new-found freedom to begin laying the groundwork for the overthrow of the Sadat government.

Zawahiri graduated from Cairo University in 1974 and went into the Egyptian Army, serving as a surgeon for three years. After leaving the Army, he joined a coalition of Islamist cells calling itself Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

He was among scores of militants arrested and tried in connection with Sadat's October 1981 assassination. During the opening day of the trial, Zawahiri said the accused were "the real Islamic front and the real Islamic opposition against Zionism, Communism and imperialism." He said authorities were conducting the prosecution as part of a "conspiracy of evacuating the area in preparation for the Zionist infiltration."

Zawahiri was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment for illegal weapons possession.

He left Egypt in 1985 and went to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he treated mujahedeen fighting the Soviets. That was where he met Osama bin Laden, and the two became close – linked together as "Afghan Arabs." In 1989, with the Soviets defeated and Afghanistan descending into chaos, Zawahiri and bin Laden moved to Sudan.

Veteran journalist Lawrence Wright writes that, from his base in Sudan, Zawahiri and his Egyptian Islamic Jihad group launched a bombing and assassination campaign to destabilize Egypt. In 1990, it assassinated Egypt's parliament speaker.

Subsequent attacks targeted Egypt's interior minister and other officials. A November 1993 attempted car bombing targeting Egypt's prime minister, injured 21 bystanders , and killed a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

"The unintended death of this innocent child pained us all, but we were helpless and we had to fight this government, which was against God's Sharia and supported God's enemies," Zawahiri wrote in his memoirs.

The Egyptian government launched a ferocious crackdown after Zawahiri's group tried to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak during a 1995 visit to Ethiopia. Tens of thousands of actual or suspected Islamists were jailed. In retaliation, Zawahiri dispatched suicide bombers to blow up the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. The attack by two suicide bombers killed 16 people and wounded 60.

By 1996, pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia forced Sudan to kick out al-Qaida. By 1996, bin Laden, Zawahiri and al-Qaida relocated to Afghanistan, where the Taliban gave them sanctuary.

In 1997, the State Department named Zawahiri as a leader of a group called Vanguards of Conquest - an Islamic Jihad faction believed to have been behind the massacre of 58 foreign tourists at Luxor, Egypt that year.

Zawahiri has also been indicted in the United States for masterminding the August 7, 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in which 224 people were killed.

In 1998, he joined bin Laden in announcing the World Islamic Front's Statement Urging Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders. The men issued a fatwa declaring: "We – with God's help, call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill Americans and plunder their money wherever they find it."

In 1999, Zawahiri was tried in absentia in Egypt and sentenced to death.

Tawfiq Hamid, who worked with Zawahiri when the two were part of Jamaa Islamiya, an Egyptian jihadist group, warned against underestimating Zawahiri in his new role as bin Laden's successor. Zawahiri's superior organizational skills and dedication to violence could make him more dangerous than bin Laden.

"He's much more powerful as a leader – much more organized," Hamid said. "When you listen to him, you can tell clearly that he has the ambition and is dedicated 100 percent to achieve this mission."


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute


Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii


DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group


Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii



National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii


SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii