The interim Al Qaeda chief

After reading this report offered by Reuters on the man who has been appointed the interim chief of Al Qaeda I am starting to wonder whether this will mean a change in direction for AQ. By that I mean that there might not be the same push for a random attack like that on the WTC in 2001. I may have this very wrong but I suspect that there might be a redirection of effort in Egypt, followed by an upsurge in Tunisia, and Libya.

The Arab satellite channel said Saif al-Adel was named interim leader and Mohammed Mustafa al-Yemeni, whose surname hints he is from Yemen, would direct operations .

“According to the sources, the decision (on the appointments) was made at a meeting on May 10 on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,” said the channel, which was the main conduit for bin Laden to release messages to the media.

U.S. special forces shot dead Al Qaeda leader bin Laden in his hideout outside the capital of Pakistan on May 2, almost 10 years after he ordered the September 11 attacks of 2001 that killed around 3,000 people in the United States.

“I think it’s more for show than anything else. It is to illustrate to the world that they have a temporary leader,” Dubai-based security analyst Theodore Karasik said of Adel.

“Adel clearly has operational experience but he does not have the intellectual or charismatic side that bin Laden had.”

This particular report indicates that the leadership roles have been divided up according to division, but there is something else that is mentioned about this man, besides the fact that he is wanted for the 1998 US embassy bombings, and that is he was opposed to the operation against the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

Adel’s history is quite sketchy. It appears that he left the Afghanistan region after the NATO invasion began and that he was held under house arrest in Iran, but after release he moved back to the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. He seems to be more of an operations person than someone who is a “leader” mapping out random attacks. It is very hard to tell what is truth in these matters because the analysts tend to have other ideas.

However, I could see this as a sign that AQ might want to have more of a presence in Egypt than they have in the past. With the current void in Egypt the timing is ripe for AQ to attempt to become more active again.  Adel and Zawahiri are both Egyptians with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. 


One response to “The interim Al Qaeda chief

  1. Interesting. Very, very interesting. I like the way you’re thinking.