While on vacation, the editor is re-running old posts that have retained their timeliness.
In light of recent violence, including against Muslims, by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (or the Levant), we thought this post would be especially timely.
Michael Scheuer, some of whose pronouncements about al Qaeda since 9/11 you may be familiar with, was head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit between 1996 and 2005. In a piece titled The Zawahiri Era, he addresses the succession of al Qaeda’s leadership.
The question on everyone’s lips is whether new al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri is up to the job. My own bet is that al-Qaeda will survive, as it did after near economic ruin in Sudan (1994–96); after the pounding it took from the U.S.-NATO-Pakistan coalition (2001–02); and after the U.S. military helpfully killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s chief in Iraq (2006), whose indiscriminate targeting of Muslims almost pushed al-Qaeda to the brink of defeat.