Succession to throne: Ayman al Zawahiri named head of al Qaeda

Published: June 17, 2011
Organisation’s number two named head on Ansar al Mujahideen website.

Organisation’s number two named head on Ansar al Mujahideen website.


The Egyptian-born doctor Ayman al Zawahiri has officially succeeded Osama bin Laden as the head of al Qaeda.

A statement posted on the Ansar al Mujahideen website read:  “The general leadership of al Qaeda group after the completion of consultation, announces that Sheikh Dr Ayman Zawahiri, may God give him success, has assumed responsibility for command of the group.” Loosely-sourced news reports pointed to military commander Sayf al Adl as the new head of al Qaeda after Bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad on May 2.

Al Zawahiri was a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and among those arrested in a crackdown after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981.  His long-term association with Bin Laden made him known as ‘al Qaeda’s number two’. He was indicted for his role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the US government is offering a $25 million reward for information on his whereabouts.

The US State Department on Thursday said it “barely matters” who the new leader of al Qaeda is after reports that Ayman al Zawahri replaced Osama bin Laden. “Frankly, it barely matters who runs al Qaeda because al Qaeda is a bankrupt ideology,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said at her daily briefing without commenting on the credibility of the reports.

Al Zawahiri, who was born in 1951, first travelled to Peshawar in 1980 and served as a doctor with the Red Crescent Society during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Since 2001, al Zawahiri has issued a number of statements focusing on al Qaeda and news developments. The most recent included a eulogy for Bin Laden and praise of the protests in the Middle East. He has repeatedly criticised Pakistan’s political leadership and in 2007, he said the Lal Masjid siege had “revealed the extent of the despicableness, lowliness and treason of Musharraf and his forces”.

Zawahri has expressed contempt for the US-backed Pakistani government. In recordings posted on the Internet he has urged Pakistanis to revolt against their government and army. Like other militants, he sees Pakistan as a US puppet.

In an audio recording, released in September last year, he accused the Pakistani government of responding too slowly to floods that devastated the country.

“The primary concern of the ruling class in the government and army of Pakistan is filling their domestic and foreign bank accounts with dollars, and as far as they are concerned, Pakistan and its people can go to hell,” he said.

‘Capable Person’: Tehreek-i-Taliban backs Zawahiri

Pakistan’s Taliban movement said on Thursday it backed Ayman al Zawahiri as al Qaeda’s new leader and vowed to carry out attacks against Western targets.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan described Zawahiri as a “capable person” and said the former Egyptian doctor would inspire the group to take on the West.

“We have been carrying out our activities which, inshallah (God willing), will gather more momentum. We will get revenge for the oppression by the West,” he told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Zawahiri’s relationship with groups like the TTP could determine whether the man regarded as the operational brains behind al Qaeda can strengthen an organisation that has lost steam since the Sept. 11 attacks a decade ago.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • moeed
    Jun 16, 2011 - 12:59PM

    welcome mr Ayman al-Zawahiri where would you like to live in pakistan shall we give you a luxury house in deffence lahore oh no that ‘s very crowded and its very hot nowadys i think this time we should take a room in pc bhurban and u can live there Recommend

  • Jun 16, 2011 - 1:21PM

    So US citizen heading the Al Qaeda now.Recommend

  • Ether hunt
    Jun 16, 2011 - 1:58PM

    Congo zawahiri. Where is the party?Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Jun 16, 2011 - 2:03PM

    Now United States will undoubtly attack all the Nuclear Installations of Pakistan to extract the
    new CEO of Al Qaida Corporation.Recommend

  • Kasim
    Jun 16, 2011 - 2:07PM

    Congratulations… Be ready to join with OBL with American Courtesy..Recommend

  • Asim+Ali
    Jun 16, 2011 - 2:16PM

    Has he moved to his compound in Abbottabad?Recommend

  • Moderate
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:18PM

    Congratulations on the promotions, hope you will see things differently then OBL :sRecommend

  • Generally kuch Kiyanahi
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:22PM

    Is the US offering $50 million for Zawahiri’s head? If yes, I will ask my colleagues to leak information about his location to the US. We can buy a lot of plots with the money !!Recommend

  • John
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:29PM

    Congratulations on your election… Soon terrorist leaders will have democratic elections… I hope so…Recommend

  • Furqan
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:37PM

    New chief of the Al Qaeda run by CIARecommend

  • G. Din
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:41PM

    They just put a Bull’s Eye on the man!Recommend

  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:45PM

    It means u will give Mullen a chance stay here for a long time ,Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:55PM

    Zawahri, Rawalpindi is a nice place. Did you check with Pasha if he’s got any good mansions for you?Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 16, 2011 - 4:11PM

    When Khana Qa’ba Imam isn’t issueing fatwas then who the hell are you to do so and be self appointed leader of us. I wonder why do you guys just blame Israel etc all the time and always always kill Muslims 90% of the time. If you guys were so caring for any one you would invent in education with all your wealth but no doubt you are the real infidels & beasts.
    I think GOD needs more fuel for the Hell … Inshallah you will fulfill the requirement very soon Our prayers will be heard by GOD who is the creator of everything and everyone regardless of their religion. Recommend

  • Faction
    Jun 16, 2011 - 4:31PM

    This is all drama! There is no al queda! Zawahiri is Macy’s parade Santa Claus paid by Jewish masters with all you can eat Indian buffet served by RAW!Recommend

  • rifaye
    Jun 16, 2011 - 4:54PM

    seems democracy is work very well with al qaida than actually with pakistan itself..Recommend

  • dude
    Jun 16, 2011 - 4:55PM

    Congratulations Mr. Zawahiri, all the best for your upcoming projects. Please get your budget approved from Army and ISI at the earliest. We don’t want any delayes.Recommend

  • Jhelum
    Jun 16, 2011 - 5:20PM

    Plz dont say anything about zawahiri. He is my favourite terroristRecommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Jun 16, 2011 - 5:39PM

    Hope they get him too.Recommend

  • Nstsadh
    Jun 16, 2011 - 5:53PM

    lol @ Moeed.

    Bitter reality.Recommend

    Jun 16, 2011 - 5:55PM



  • Jun 16, 2011 - 6:01PM

    lol @ Moeed.

    Bitter reality.

    I wish some general reads this comment.Recommend

  • Chilli
    Jun 16, 2011 - 6:48PM

    CIA cannot afford to slash its budget by US government. They need Al-Qaida more than anyone on earth.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 16, 2011 - 8:15PM

    I suppose he will wait a couple of weeks until Pakistan roots out all those people who have cooperated with the nasty American’s — then cozy down in a well guarded Pakistani mansion.Recommend

  • Shamsudin Noorani
    Jun 16, 2011 - 9:24PM


  • Tilsim
    Jun 16, 2011 - 9:38PM

    With Dr.Goebbels incharge, AQ should do even a better job at confusing Pakistanis then OBL did. Last time his message was support for AQ was protection against an attack on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons (LOL!) and helped realise the cherished dream of the nation being a citadel of Islam.

    Dr Goebbels I have a message for you. The people of Pakistan want to live peacefully and have their basic needs met. We do not want bombs, war, foreigners on our doorsteps or enemies. TAKE YOUR WAR SOMEWHERE ELSE. LEAVE US ALONE!!Recommend

    Jun 16, 2011 - 9:38PM

    why pakistan taliban not getting over

    founder baitullah dead

    after military operation also

    because confuse people(maulvis and there sympathizers in army and navy) think pakistan taliban has only allah

    and others muslims has no allah because they pray 5 time namaz they not like pakistan taliban who make children- children whom you see face of god as suicide bombersRecommend

  • Billa
    Jun 16, 2011 - 9:45PM

    Ah…!!! Pakistan seems to be ruined after a decade of Terrorism faced mostly by innocent Pakistani’s. They are continuously paying a heavy price for their affilliations with them.Recommend

  • ArifQ
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:17PM

    Last I heard there’s a vacancy in Egypt, Mr. Ayman should apply could do wonders for his career. Recommend

  • Thinking
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:29PM

    I hope all the people who still question whether OBL was actually killed will now shut up.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 16, 2011 - 11:00PM

    You have a point there. That may be the reason Americans went to that compound again? In addition they wanted to see if there were tunnels for OBL’s rescue, in case the army got a few minutes notice? It would be interesting to know the CIA’s findings. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when they inspected the place in detail.
    Mirza Recommend

  • Malik
    Jun 17, 2011 - 1:03AM

    Great! Give more and more media coverage to the terrorists. Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 17, 2011 - 2:49AM

    Where are the trolls today?Recommend

  • Aslam Khan
    Jun 17, 2011 - 2:53AM

    Saudi influence in Pakistan has to stop. Saudis and most Arabs are morally corrupt, degenerate scum. Look at how they treat women in their countries. These Arabs need to be kicked out. Sort out Baloch issue peacefully, make friends with Iran, and we wont be dependent on Saudi oil so much.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Jun 17, 2011 - 3:52AM

    If u want to America……..Why dont u leave Pakistan Alone?
    U want to hit America but u people all the hit Pakistans innocent people all the time……………….If u think corrupt leaders are wrong…..Which they r………Kill those leaders why pakistan innocent people…………………………Tell u have any answer for this????????????Recommend

  • sajid imran khan
    Jun 17, 2011 - 7:47AM

    CIA backs terrorists because if they not do so how they remain in Afghanistan,

  • Zarmeena Ikram Babar
    Jun 17, 2011 - 9:27AM

    I just couldn’t laughing after reading a bunch of sarcastic comments –
    So talibaans had actually called Reuters and told them all this -this clearly shows how much they crave for media coverage and publicity- I pity them for their wrecking rule -Now that they are falling apart they are finding means to manifest themselves stronger by taking help from media – lol

    Mr Zawahiri! You are nobody to say anything about our Government- it isn’t your county and besides this look at yourself before passing any judgement -what on earth are you? a human or an animal?
    Pakistan will get rid of beats like you and many others quite soon Inshallah! Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2011 - 11:14AM

    Now we have to protect Pakistan from more American influence. Now they have make enough efforts in Pakistan, Go somewhere else or Keep your self in your countries. Recommend

  • Haseena
    Jun 17, 2011 - 10:59PM

    the successor to the throne will be killed by a droneRecommend

  • Jun 18, 2011 - 12:17PM

    He was in Egypt jail in 80s.Recommend

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