Report: New interim leader of Al Qaeda is…

posted at 5:32 pm on May 17, 2011 by Allahpundit

Yes, it’s an Egyptian, but not the one you think. In fact, this guy may be more significant than Zawahiri.

An Egyptian who was once a Special Forces officer has been appointed “caretaker” leader of al Qaeda in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, according to a source with detailed knowledge of the group’s inner workings.

Al Qaeda’s interim leader is Saif al-Adel, who has long played a prominent role in the group, according to Noman Benotman…

However, he said, the choice of an Egyptian may not sit well with some Saudi and Yemeni members of al Qaeda, who believe bin Laden’s successor should come from the Arabian Peninsula, a region that is holy to all Muslims. Bin Laden was from a wealthy Saudi family.

The presumed successor to bin Laden is his long-time deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is also Egyptian. Benotman, who has long been a reliable source of information about al Qaeda, said the temporary appointment of al-Adel may be a way for the leadership to gauge reaction to the appointment of someone from beyond the Arabian Peninsula as the group’s leader.

Appointing an Egyptian is a smart way symbolically for AQ to inject itself into the Arab Spring, especially if/when Islamists take power in Cairo. His nationality plus his former career in the Egyptian military might give him more of an audience in the country than Zawahiri would have. Beyond that, though, al-Adel is noteworthy among Al Qaeda’s upper echelon for where he spent most of the past decade. Unlike Bin Laden and Zawahiri, he wasn’t in hiding; he was in Iran, having journeyed there shortly after 9/11 and then, allegedly, been put under house arrest by the regime for most of the next 10 years. In 2007, WaPo reported that Iran had actually offered him to the U.S. as part of a prisoner swap in 2003 and Bush, on Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s advice, reportedly refused. Last year, as nuclear tensions between the U.S. and Iran ratcheted up, new reports came out about Iran releasing some or all of the top AQ capos in its possession; no one knows for sure if al-Adel has been set free to return to Pakistan or if he’s still in Iran right now. (Given Bin Laden’s fate, he’s probably safer with the mullahs.) Here’s a sensational story from the Telegraph written in 2006 passing along rumors of al-Adel’s newfound chumminess with his alleged “captors”:

For the past five years he has been living in a Revolutionary Guards guest house in Teheran together with Saad and Mohammed bin Laden, two of the al-Qa’eda leader’s sons.

Until 2003, al-Adel acted as bin Laden’s security chief and since his arrival in Iran he is understood to have struck up a close personal relationship with several prominent Revolutionary Guards commanders.

The Iranians are now exerting pressure on al-Qa’eda’s leadership to make al-Adel the organisation’s number three which, given bin Laden’s poor state of health, would effectively make him number two. This would put him in a strong position to take control of the entire al-Qa’eda network in the event of Zawahiri being killed or being unable to continue running the group.

“This is an important power play by the Iranians and the prospect of al-Qa’eda and Iran forging a close alliance is truly terrifying,” said a senior Western intelligence official. “They have had their differences in the past, but with the survival of both Iran and al-Qa’eda now at stake they realise it is in both their interests to have closer ties.”

The left will sneer at the suggestion of Iran/AQ cooperation, partly out of loyalty to their long-held, painfully stupid insistence that Sunni and Shiite fanatics won’t work together (ask Hamas about that) and partly because they know it bolsters the case for military action against Iran. Just two weeks ago, though, the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus released an outside report alleging deepening ties between Iran and AQ. A taste:

In its report to the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, the strategic advisory firm Kronos highlighted what it says are increasingly strong links between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps force and Al-Qaeda…

The ties date back to the 1990s when Al-Quds members worked with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah to train and equip bin Laden’s holy warriors. He cites the 9/11 Commission Report for operational linkages between the two.

“Since 9/11, these partnerships have become all the more pronounced. Hundreds of al-Qaeda members, along with family members of core al-Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden, have found refuge inside Iran,” he wrote.

Tom Joscelyn has written at length about cooperation between Iran and Al Qaeda as well. Maybe that’s overstated or maybe al-Adel is fully prepared to turn his back on the Shiite apostates in Tehran, but if ever there was a moment where AQ might be willing to cooperate with them, this is surely it. They’re reeling from Bin Laden’s death and they’re in grave danger of seeing the network unravel as the U.S. follows up on leads gleaned from OBL’s computer data. (A major arrest was made in Pakistan just today, in fact.) They need somewhere safer to hide and, especially, they need money and material with their inspirational figurehead/fundraiser now at the bottom of the ocean. If they’re willing to deal with Iran and Iran is willing to deal with them, al-Adel would be the natural choice to serve as leader and liaison. Time to move him up to the top of the SEALs’ list of people who need killin’.


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Appointing an Egyptian is a smart way symbolically for AQ to inject itself into the Arab Spring, especially if/when Islamists take power in Cairo.

I personally don’t think ‘if’ is in question.

Vashta.Nerada on May 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM

We sure know a lot about people we can’t ever find.

Cindy Munford on May 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Fox now refers to the “Arab Spring”.

How stupid they’ve also gotten, lately.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Name, I triple dare you, one people who are free, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Bin Laden was from a wealthy Saudi family.

So that’s why he had such a sweet crib in pockystahn.

davidk on May 17, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Noman Benotman…

No man Be not man………

Great name if your dealing with a Cyclops or the stupid kuffar.

BL@KBIRD on May 17, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Calling SEAL Team Six, Calling SEAL Team Six. You are wanted in the Planning Room, please bring your equipment.

Oil Can on May 17, 2011 at 5:43 PM

So when will the actual leadership convention happen? I imagine London would be the most central and safe location to hold it. No point in waiting til the GZ mosque is completed although that would be more appropriate location.

BL@KBIRD on May 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM

New interim leader

Yes, interim…

Heh heh heh…

Bruno Strozek on May 17, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Poor Crackhead Bob, didn’t get the job he wanted. Let’s all say it together….”Awwwwwwww”

Sekhmet on May 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I have this funny feeling that al-Adel, Zawahiri, and a host of others are all pointing fingers and saying…
“No no , He’s the leader, not me!

Lummox on May 17, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Time to move him up to the top of the SEALs’ list of people who need killin’.

Allah, you are one bloodthirsty Neo-con.

cynccook on May 17, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Obama is contumelious to call it the “Arab Spring”.

It is a bunch of icicles, at best.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Report: New interim future ex-leader of Al Qaeda is…

FIFY.

greggriffith on May 17, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Someone needs to make a video, with Obama speechifying on the ‘Arab Spring’ while iceberg pictures float in his back…the same as somoene did with illegals running behind him, when he said “the borders are secure now”.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Take it away, Susanna!

MikeHu on May 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Awww, poor Zawahiri … always a “number two”!

I hope the CCTs or Delta gets this new guy, can’t let the SeALs have ALL the fun!

Tony737 on May 17, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Just graduated to a prime position.

TNO.

TARGET NUMBER ONE.

Drones to your airfields.

Hellfires armed.

Fry us up some jihadi scum.

profitsbeard on May 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Name, I triple dare you, one people who are free, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 5:37 PM

The New Black Panthers…

/

Seven Percent Solution on May 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM

7%

Heh!

Lummox on May 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Does the ‘promotion’ come with a target pasted to his chest?

GarandFan on May 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM

We sure know a lot about people we can’t ever find.

Cindy Munford on May 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM

You can say that again…

We sure know a lot about people we can’t ever find.

Cindy Munford on May 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM

/

Seven Percent Solution on May 17, 2011 at 6:14 PM

New boss, same as the old boss.
I think Zawahiri’s unicorn horn concerned many terrorists, believing that he might have been one of obama’s promised unicorns, sent to Osama as a lark.

HornetSting on May 17, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Zawahiri. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride . . .

BigAlSouth on May 17, 2011 at 7:36 PM

I just hope he too swims with the fishes soon……….

RealMc on May 17, 2011 at 7:47 PM

So what kind of porn is Saif Sex al into?
Wank like an Egyptian.

justltl on May 17, 2011 at 8:15 PM

I hear Joanne Kloppenburg is already calling for a recount.

JavelinaBomb on May 17, 2011 at 8:44 PM

So are the Democrats and the MSM going to give AQ some advise on who to pick? Maybe some top White House officials could offer insight, on background of course, into who they’re really most afraid of.

SlaveDog on May 17, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Name, I triple dare you, one people who are free, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Former Democrat congressional reps?

Dean_L_Can on May 17, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Appointing an Egyptian is a smart way symbolically for AQ to inject itself into the Arab Spring, especially if/when Islamists take power in Cairo. His nationality plus his former career in the Egyptian military might give him more of an audience in the country than Zawahiri would have.

Sorry AP, but AQ is not trying to inject itself into the “Arab Spring” with this move. OBL chose a jihadist “technocrat” as his successor, a leader who has the skills to plan attacks, practice jihadist tradecraft and successfully execute attacks rather than a figurehead like Zawahiri. He has a pretty strong record with training jihadists and executing attacks, such as the 1998 embassy bombings. Like your article mentioned, Zawahiri would’ve been a logical choice but most likely would’ve caused strife within the organization. Since the inception of Al-Qaeda, there has been a persistent power struggle between Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the jihadists of the Arabian Peninsula, particularly with the godfather of al-qaeda, Abdullah Azzam (who was assassinated with the nod from OBL in ’89). These groups have different global priorities, and that is a major point of contention. While Saif al-Adel is an Egyptian and has ties to EIJ, he is neither the “emir” of EIJ, nor a figurehead like Zawahiri.

Shock the Monkey on May 17, 2011 at 9:46 PM

I don’t know why I quoted all of my text. n00b.

Shock the Monkey on May 17, 2011 at 9:47 PM

We sure know a lot about people we can’t ever find.

Cindy Munford on May 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Where there’s no will, there’s no way.

It’s like Saddam and his WMD stash: by the time America dredged up the will to go in (and after broadcasting our intentions for years), about all we found was a bunch of rusty old crap.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 17, 2011 at 9:48 PM

“This is an important power play by the Iranians and the prospect of al-Qa’eda and Iran forging a close alliance is truly terrifying,” said a senior Western intelligence official. “They have had their differences in the past, but with the survival of both Iran and al-Qa’eda now at stake they realise it is in both their interests to have closer ties.”

This type of reach mirrors the appointment of Shakoor by al-qaeda to run operations in Pakistan:


Al Qaeda appoints new leader of forces in Pakistan’s tribal areas

By Bill RoggioMay 9, 2011
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/05/al_qaeda_appoints_ne_2.php#ixzz1M6qK607p

Abdul Shakoor also “holds very cordial relations with all the Taliban groups,” including with top Taliban leaders Hafiz Gul Bahadar, Hakeemullah Mehsud, and Mullah Nazir. These three Pakistani Taliban leaders support and shelter al Qaeda. In a recent interview, Nazir said he was a member of al Qaeda.
Abdul Shakoor took control of the Turkistan Islamic Party after his predecessor, Abdul Haq al Turkistani, was killed in the Feb. 14, 2010 strike on a compound in the village of Zor Babar Aidak near Mir Ali in North Waziristan. The Turkistan Islamic Party is known to operate in the Mir Ali region along with the Islamic Jihad Group, an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Members of the Islamic Jihad Group and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are often referred to as ‘European Taliban’ because many European Muslims and Turks are among their ranks.
US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Shakoor’s appointment further highlights the influence that affiliated terror groups have within al Qaeda. Although the Turkistan Islamic Party, a terror group that operates in China and Central Asia, is thought to have scores of fighters in Pakistan’s tribal areas,

…..This is a terror group that is becoming more diverse and far reaching.

(via long war journal)

Bin Laden was logged off, but not al-Qaida

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110515/ap_on_re_as/as_bin_laden_digital_warriors

There are now tens of thousands of members on the half-dozen most important and exclusive online password-protected chatrooms, “fostering a movement that is at once decentralized but hierarchical,” said Katz.

Members of the cell who bombed Madrid’s commuter train system in 2004 and killed nearly 200 people were radicalized with the help of the Internet, as was U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is suspected of shooting to death 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

….Al-qaeda and other terrorist groups are becoming more skilled in getting their ideology spread out over a much wider area.
Drone strikes have forced them to splinter and create a larger network that enables information and attacks to carry forward despite the occasional leadership take down.

Seeing the top leadership carry a much more diverse and far reaching background goes right in line with the direction that we see emerging from the jihadist.

They are making battlefield adjustments and it is going to take all the intelligence and future military technology we can assemble to keep up with this threat.

Baxter Greene on May 17, 2011 at 9:55 PM

I wonder if the “mansion” in Pakeestan is a “position quarters” (i.e., in the military, the house comes with the job). Is the the goat porn part of the furnishings? They may have to put in some new carpeting and doors.

If so, it would be thoughtful of them to put in a helipad.

Dingbat63 on May 18, 2011 at 1:31 AM

That bulging vein in the forehead would make a dandy POA, marksmanshiply-speaking.

curved space on May 18, 2011 at 8:37 AM