- Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri Born June 19, 1951
Maadi, Cairo, Egypt
Predecessor Osama bin Laden Religion Sunni Islam (Qutbism) Spouse Azza Ahmed
(m. 1978–2001, her death)
Parents Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri (father)
Umayma Azzam (mother)
Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri (Arabic: أيمن محمد ربيع الظواهري ʾAyman Muḥammad Rabīʿ aẓ-Ẓawāhirī, born June 19, 1951) is an Egyptian physician, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda. He was previously the second and last "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life imprisonment. His wife and three of his six children were killed in an air strike on Afghanistan by US forces in late 2001, following the September 11 attacks on the USA. As of May 2, 2011, he became the leader of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden. This was confirmed by a press release from al-Qaeda's general command on June 16. After the 9/11 attacks the U.S. State Department offered a US$25 million reward for information leading to al-Zawahiri's apprehension.
Al-Zawahiri is reportedly a qualified surgeon; when his organization merged with bin Laden's al-Qaeda, he became bin Laden's personal advisor and physician. He had first met bin Laden in Jeddah in 1986. al-Zawahiri has shown a radical understanding of Islamic theology and Islamic history. He speaks Arabic, English and French. He is under worldwide sanctions by the United Nations Security Council 1267 Committee as a member or affiliate of al-Qaeda.
In 1998, al-Zawahiri formally merged the Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda. According to reports by a former al-Qaeda member, he has worked in the al-Qaeda organization since its inception and was a senior member of the group's shura council. He was often described as a "lieutenant" to Osama bin Laden, though bin Laden's chosen biographer has referred to him as the "real brains" of al-Qaeda. On June 16, 2011, al-Qaeda announced that al-Zawahiri had been selected as bin Laden's successor as al-Qaeda's former leader had been killed in a US operation on May 2, 2011.
Alternate names and sobriquets
Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is pronounced [ˈʔæjmæn mʊˈħæmːæd rɑˈbiːʕ azˤːɑˈwæːhɪriː] or [aðˤːɑˈwæːhɪriː] in Arabic (the latter is in the Classical). Zawahiri is usually spelled Zawahri (from the pronunciation in his native Egyptian Arabic), but is sometimes spelled "Dhawahri" if transliterated directly from Modern Standard Arabic, also called Literary Arabic, in certain academic circles. Using the Intelligence Community Standard for the Transliteration of Arabic Names, it is spelled Zawahri.
al-Zawahiri has also gone under the names of Abu Muhammad / Abu Mohammed (أبو محمّد), Abu Fatima (أبو فاطمة), Muhammad Ibrahim (محمّد إبراهيم), Abu Abdallah (أبو عبدالله), Abu al-Mu'iz (أبو المعز), The Doctor, The Teacher, Nur (نور), Ustaz (أستاذ), Abu Mohammed Nur al-Deen (أبو محمّد نورالدين), Abdel Muaz / Abdel Moez / Abdel Muez (عبدالمعز).
Upbringing and education
Al-Zawahiri was born to an upper middle class family in Maadi, Egypt, a suburb of Cairo, and was reportedly a studious youth. His father, Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, came from a large family of doctors and scholars. Mohammed Rabie became a surgeon, and a medical professor at Cairo University. Ayman al-Zawahiri's mother, Umayma Azzam, came from a wealthy, politically active clan. Ayman excelled in school, loved poetry, "hated violent sports"—which he thought were "inhumane"—and had a deep affection for his mother. His sister Heba Mohamed al-Zawahiri, Professor of Medical Oncology in the National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, described him as "silent and shy".
Al-Zawahiri became both quite pious and political, under the influence of his uncle Mahfouz Azzam, and lecturer Mostafa Kamel Wasfi. Sayyid Qutb preached that to restore Islam and free Muslims, a vanguard of true Muslims modeling itself after the original Companions of the Prophet had to be developed.
By the age of 14, al-Zawahiri had joined the Muslim Brotherhood. The following year the Egyptian government executed Qutb for conspiracy, and al-Zawahiri, along with four other secondary school students, helped form an "underground cell devoted to overthrowing the government and establishing an Islamist state." It was at this early age that al-Zawahiri developed a mission in life, "to put Qutb's vision into action." His cell eventually merged with others to form al-Jihad or Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Al-Zawahiri graduated from Cairo University in 1974 with gayyid giddan. Following that he served three years as a surgeon in the Egyptian Army after which he established a clinic near his parents. In 1978, he also earned a master's degree in surgery.
In 1993, al-Zawahiri sent his younger brother—Muhammad al-Zawahiri—to the Balkans to help run the mujaheddin fighters in Bosnia. Muhammad is known as a logistics expert and is said to be the military commander of Islamic Jihad. Muhammad worked in Bosnia, Croatia, and Albania under the cover of being an International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) official. While hiding in the United Arab Emirates, he was arrested in 2000, then extradited to Egypt where he was sentenced to death. He was held in Tora Prison in Cairo as a political detainee. Security officials said he was the head of the Special Action Committee of Islamic Jihad, which organized terrorist operations. However, after the Egyptian popular uprising in the spring of 2011, on March 17, 2011 he was released from prison by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the interim government of Egypt. His lawyer said he had been held to extract information about his brother Ayman. However, on Sunday March 20, 2011, he was re-arrested.
Marriage and family
In 1978 he married his wife Azza Ahmed Nowari, who was studying philosophy at Cairo University. Their wedding, at the Continental Hotel in Opera Square, was very conservative, with separate areas for both men and women, and no music, photographs, or light-hearted humour. Many years later, when the United States attacked Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Azza had no idea that Zawahiri had supposedly been a jihadi emir (commander) for the last decade.
The couple had four daughters, Fatima (b. 1981), Umayma, Nabila (b. 1986) and Khadiga (b. 1987), and a son Mohammed, who was a "delicate, well-mannered boy" and "the pet of his older sisters," subject to teasing and bullying in a traditional all-male environment who preferred to "stay at home and help his mother." Ten years after the birth of Mohammed, Azza gave birth to Aisha, who had Down syndrome. In February 2004, Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded, and subsequently stated that Abu Turab Al-Urduni had married one of al-Zawahiri's daughters.
Zaynab Khadr recalled celebrating the engagement of Umayma at the family's house for an all-day party, and al-Zawahiri knocking softly at Umayma's door asking the two girls to please keep their singing and partying quiet as it was nighttime.
Azza and Aisha were both killed by Americans in November 2001, following 9/11. After American bombardment of a building at Gardez, Azza was pinned under debris of a guesthouse roof. Concerned for her modesty, she "refused to be excavated" because "men would see her face." Her four-year-old daughter Aisha had not been hurt by the bombing but died from exposure in the cold night while Afghan rescuers tried to save Azza.
In the first half of 2005, another daughter was born, named Nawwar.
He eventually became one of Egyptian Islamic Jihad's leading organizers and recruiters. Zawahiri's hope was to recruit military officers and accumulate weapons, waiting for the right moment to launch "a complete overthrow of the existing order." Chief strategist of Al-Jihad was Aboud al-Zumar, a colonel in the military intelligence whose plan was to kill the main leaders of the country, capture the headquarters of the army and State Security, the telephone exchange building, and of course the radio and television building, where news of the Islamic revolution would then be broadcast, unleashing – he expected – a popular uprising against secular authority all over the country."
The plan was derailed when authorities were alerted to Al-Jihad's plan by the arrest of an operative carrying crucial information, in February 1981. President Anwar Sadat ordered the roundup of more than 1500 people, including many Al-Jihad members, but missed a cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli, who succeeded in assassinating Sadat during a military parade that October.
Imprisonment and torture allegations
In his book, Al-Zawahiri as I Knew Him, Al-Zayat maintains that under torture by the Egyptian police, following his arrest in connection with the murder of Sadat in 1981, Al-Zawahiri revealed the hiding place of Essam al-Qamari, a key member of the Maadi cell of al-Jihad, which led to Al-Qamari's "arrest and eventual execution."
Al-Zawahiri was convicted of dealing in weapons and received a three-year sentence, which he completed in 1984, shortly after his conviction.
He then traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan where he worked in a Red Crescent hospital treating wounded refugees. There he became friends with the Canadian Ahmed Khadr, and the two shared a number of conversations about the need for Islamic government and the needs of the Afghan people. During this time, al-Zawahiri also began reconstituting the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) along with other exiled militants. The group had "very loose ties to their nominal imprisoned leader, Abud al-Zumur."
In Peshwar, al-Zawahiri is thought to have become radicalized by other Al-Jihad members, abandoning his old strategy of a swift coup d'etat to change society from above, and embracing the idea of takfir. In 1991, EIJ broke with al-Zumur, and al-Zawahiri grabbed "the reins of power" to become EIJ leader.
In Peshawar, he met up with Osama bin Laden, who was running a base for mujahideen called Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK); founded by the Palestinian Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. The radical position of al-Zawahiri and the other militants of Al-Jihad put them at odds with Sheikh Azzam, with whom they competed for bin Laden's financial resources. Zawahiri carried two false passports, a Swiss one in the name of Amin Uthman and a Dutch one in the name of Mohmud Hifnawi.
Relation with Islamic Republic of Iran
Zawahiri has allegedly worked with the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of al-Qaeda. Lawrence Wright reports that EIJ operative Ali Mohammed "told the FBI that al-Jihad had planned a coup in Egypt in 1990." Zawahiri had studied the 1979 Islamist Islamic Revolution and "sought training from the Iranians" as to how to duplicate their feat against the Egyptian government.
He offered Iran information about an Egyptian government plan to storm several islands in the Persian Gulf that both Iran and the United Arab Emirates lay claim to. According to Mohammed, in return for this information, the Iranian government paid Zawahiri $2 million and helped train members of al-Jihad in a coup attempt that never actually took place.
However, in public Zawahiri has harshly denounced the Iranian government. In December 2007 he said, "We discovered Iran collaborating with America in its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq." In the same video messages, he moreover chides Iran for "repeating the ridiculous joke that says that al-Qaida and the Taliban are agents of America," before playing a video clip in which Ayatollah Rafsanjani says, "In Afghanistan, they were present in Afghanistan, because of Al-Qa'ida; and the Taliban, who created the Taliban? America is the one who created the Taliban, and America's friends in the region are the ones who financed and armed the Taliban."
Zawahiri's criticism of Iran's government continues when he states,
Despite Iran's repetition of the slogan 'Death to America, death to Israel,' we haven't heard even one Fatwa from one Shiite authority, whether in Iran or elsewhere, calling for Jihad against the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Zawahiri has dismissed that there is any cooperation between Iran and Al Qaeda against their common enemy, to wit, the United States. He also said that "Iran Stabbed a Knife into the Back of the Islamic Nation."
In April 2008, Zawahiri blamed Iranian state media and Al-Manar for perpetuating the "lie" that "there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no-one else did in history" in order to discredit the Al Qaeda network. Zawahiri was referring to some 9/11 conspiracy theories according to which Al Qaeda was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
On the seventh anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Zawahiri released a 90-minute tape in which he blasted "The guardian of Muslims in Tehran" for recognizing "the two hireling governments" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Attacks in Egypt
In 1993 Zawahiri traveled to the United States, where he addressed several California mosques under his Abdul Mu'iz pseudonym, relying on his credentials from the Kuwaiti Red Crescent to raise money for Afghan children who had been injured by Soviet land mines—he only raised $2000.
For his trips through Western Europe, al-Zawahiri shaved off his beard and wore Western clothing.
One result of Zawahiri and EIJ's connection with Iran may have been the use of suicide bombing in August 1993 in an attempt on the life of Egyptian Interior Minister Hasan al-Alfi, the man heading the effort to quash the campaign of Islamist killings in Egypt. It failed, as did an attempt to assassinate Egyptian prime minister Atef Sidqi three months later. The bombing of Sidqi's car injured 21 Egyptians and killed a young schoolgirl, Shayma Abdel-Halim. It followed two years of killings by another Islamist group, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, that had killed over 200 people. Her funeral became a public spectacle, with her coffin carried through the streets of Cairo and crowds shouting, "Terrorism is the enemy of God!" The police arrested 280 more of al-Jihad's members, and executed six.
Zawahiri later wrote of his anger with the public reaction. "This meant that they wanted my daughter, who was two at the time, and the daughters of other colleagues, to be orphans. Who cried or cared for our daughters?"
The 1995 attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan was the Egyptian Islamic Jihad's first success under Zawahiri's leadership, but Bin Laden had disapproved of the operation. The bombing alienated Pakistan, which was "the best route into Afghanistan"[clarification needed]
Expulsion from Sudan and time spent in Russia
Following the 1994 execution of the sons of Ahmad Salama Mabruk and Mohammed Sharaf for betraying Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the militants were ordered to leave the Sudan. At this time he is said to have "become a phantom" but is thought to have traveled widely to "Switzerland and Sarajevo". A fake passport he was using shows that he traveled to Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong."
On December 1, 1996, Ahmad Salama Mabruk and Mahmud Hisham al-Hennawi – both carrying false passports – accompanied al-Zawahiri on a trip to Chechnya, where they hoped to re-establish the faltering al-Jihad. Their leader was traveling under the name Abdullah Imam Mohammed Amin, and trading on his medical credentials for legitimacy. The group switched vehicles three times, but were arrested within hours of entering Russian territory and spent five months in a Makhachkala prison awaiting trial. The trio pled innocence, maintaining their disguise and having other al-Jihad members from Bavari-C send the Russian authorities pleas for leniency for their "merchant" colleagues who had been wrongly arrested; and Russian Member of Parliament Nadyr Khachiliev echoed the pleas for their speedy release as al-Jihad members Ibrahim Eidarous and Tharwat Salah Shehata traveled to Dagestan to plead for their release. Shehata received permission to visit the prisoners, and is believed to have smuggled them $3000 which was later confiscated from their cell, and to have given them a letter which the Russians didn't bother to translate. In April 1997, the trio were sentenced to six months, and were subsequently released a month later and ran off without paying their court-appointed attorney Abulkhalik Abdusalamov his $1,800 legal fee citing their "poverty". Shehata was sent on to Chechnya, where he met with Ibn Khattab. However, some have raised doubts as to the true nature of al-Zawahiri's encounter with the Russians: Jamestown Foundation scholar Evgenii Novikov has argued that it seems unlikely that the Russians would not have been able to determine who he was, given their well-trained Arabists and the obviously suspicious act of Muslims crossing illegally a border with multiple false identities and encrypted documents in Arabic. Assassinated former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko alleged, among other things, that during this time, al-Zawahiri was indeed being trained by the FSB, and that he was not the only link between al-Qaeda and the FSB. Former KGB officer and writer Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy supported Litvinenko's claim and said that Litvinenko "was responsible for securing the secrecy of Al-Zawahiri's arrival in Russia, who was trained by FSB instructors in Dagestan, Northern Caucasus, in 1996–1997."
Zawahiri and other EIJ members found refuge in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda families had settled. About 250 people were gathered there altogether.
While there Zawahiri learned of a "Nonviolence Initiative" being organized in Egypt to end the terror campaign that had killed hundreds and resulting government crackdown that had imprisoned thousands. Zawahiri angrily opposed this "surrender" in letters to the London newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Together with members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, he helped organize a massive attack on tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut to sabotage the initiative by provoking the government into repression.
The attack by six men dressed in police uniforms, succeeded in machine-gunning and hacking to death 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians, including "a five-year-old British child and four Japanese couples on their honeymoons," and devastated the Egyptian tourist industry for a number of years. Nonetheless the Egyptian reaction was not what Zawahiri had hoped for. The attack so stunned and angered Egyptian society that Islamists denied responsibility. Zawahiri blamed the police for the killing, but also held the tourists responsible for their own deaths for coming to Egypt,
The people of Egypt consider the presence of these foreign tourists to be aggression against Muslims and Egypt, ... The young men are saying that this is our country and not a place for frolicking and enjoyment, especially for you.
The massacre was so unpopular that no terror attacks occurred in Egypt for several years thereafter.[clarification needed] Zawahiri was sentenced to death in absentia in 1999 by an Egyptian military tribunal.
Fatwa with Osama bin Laden
On February 23, 1998, he issued a joint fatwa with Osama bin Laden under the title "World Islamic Front Against Jews and Crusaders". Zawahiri, not bin Laden, is thought to have been the actual author of the fatwa.
Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri organized an al-Qaeda congress on June 24, 1998. A week prior to the beginning of the conference, a group of well-armed al-Zawahiri's assistants had left by jeeps in the direction of Herat. Following the instructions of their patron, in the town of Koh-i-Doshakh they met three unknown slavic-looking men who had arrived from Russia via Iran. After their arrival in Kandahar, they split up. One of the Russians was directly escorted to al-Zawahiri and he did not participate in the conference. The Western intelligence succeeded in acquiring photographs of him, but he disappeared for six years. According to Axis Globe, in 2004, when Qatar and U.S. investigated Russian embassy officials whom the United Arab Emirates had arrested in connection to the murder of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Qatar, computer software precisely established that that a man who had walked to the Russian embassy in Doha was the same one who visited al-Zawahiri prior to the Al-Qaida conference.
The 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings were a series of attacks that occurred on August 7, 1998, in which hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the major East African cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The attacks brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to international attention.
Following the 2000 USS Cole bombing, Mohammed Atef was moved to Kandahar, Zawahiri to Kabul, and Bin Laden fled to Kabul, later joining Atef when he realised no American reprisal attacks were forthcoming.
Hamid Mir is reported to have said that he believed that Ayman al-Zawahiri was the operational head of al-Qaeda, and that "[h]e is the person who can do the things that happened on Sept. 11." Within days of the attacks, Zawahiri's name was put forward as Bin Laden's second-in-command, with reports suggesting he represented "a more formidable US foe than bin Laden.".
Activities and whereabouts after the September 11 attacks
On October 10, 2001, al-Zawahiri appeared on the initial list of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's top 22 Most Wanted Terrorists, which was released to the public by U.S. President George W. Bush. In early November 2001, the Taliban government announced they were bestowing official Afghan citizenship on him, as well as Bin Laden, Mohammed Atef, Saif al-Adl, and Shaykh Asim Abdulrahman.
In December 2001, al-Zawahiri published the book Knights Under the Prophet's Banner outlining al-Qaeda's ideology. English translations of this book were published; excerpts are available online.
Following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, al-Zawahiri's whereabouts are unknown, but he is generally thought to be in tribal Pakistan. Although he releases videos of himself frequently (see Messages of Ayman al-Zawahiri), al-Zawahiri has not appeared alongside bin Laden in any of them since 2003. In 2003, it was rumored that he was under arrest in Iran, although this was never confirmed. In 2004, the Pakistan Army launched an aggressive operation in Wana, Pakistan. Reports began to surface that he was trapped in the center of the conflict by the Army. However, after weeks of fighting, the Army captured the area. It was later revealed that he either escaped or was never among the fighters. As the conflict spread into the tribal areas of western Pakistan, Ayman al-Zawahiri became a prime target of the ISI's Directorate for Joint Counterintelligence Bureau (J-COIN Bueurau). However, despite a series of operations they were unable to capture him.
On January 13, 2006, the Central Intelligence Agency, aided by Pakistan's ISI, launched an airstrike on Damadola, a Pakistani village near the Afghan border where they believed al-Zawahiri was located. The airstrike was supposed to kill al-Zawahiri and this was reported in international news over the following days. Many victims of the airstrike were buried without being identified. Anonymous U.S. government officials claimed that some terrorists were killed and the Bajaur tribal area government confirmed that at least four terrorists were among the dead. Anti-American protests broke out around the country and the Pakistani government condemned the U.S. attack and the loss of innocent life. On January 30, a new video was released showing al-Zawahiri unhurt. The video discussed the airstrike, but did not reveal if al-Zawahiri was present in the village at that time.
Al-Zawahiri supplied direction for the Lal Masjid siege, codename Operation Silence, in July 2007. This was the first time to confirmed that that Al-Zawahiri was taking militant steps against the Pakistan Government, and guiding Islamic militants against the State of Pakistan. The Pakistan Army troops and Special Service Group taking control of the Red Mosque in Islamabad found letters from al-Zawahiri directing Islamic militants Abdul Rashid Ghazi and Abdul Aziz Ghazi, who ran the mosque and adjacent madrasah. This conflict resulted in 100 deaths.
On August 1, 2008, CBS News reported that it had obtained a copy of an intercepted letter dated July 29, 2008, from unnamed sources in Pakistan, which urgently requested a doctor to treat al-Zawahiri. The letter indicated that al-Zawahiri was critically injured in a US missile strike at Azam Warsak village in South Waziristan on July 28 that also reportedly killed al Qaeda explosives expert Abu Khabab al-Masri. Taliban Mehsud spokesman Maulvi Umar told the Associated Press on August 2, 2008, that the report of al-Zawahiri's injury was false.
In early September 2008, Pakistan Army claimed that they "almost" captured al-Zawahiri after getting information that he and his wife were in the Mohmand Agency, in northwest Pakistan. After raiding the area, officials didn't find him.
Emergence as al-Qaeda's chief commander
On April 30, 2009, the U.S. State Department reported that al-Zawahiri had emerged as al-Qaeda's operational and strategic commander and that Osama bin Laden was now only the ideological figurehead of the organization. However, after the 2011 death of Osama, a senior U.S. intelligence official was quoted as saying intelligence gathered in the raid showed that bin Laden remained deeply involved in planning: “This compound (where bin Laden was killed) in Abbottabad was an active command-and-control center for al-Qaeda’s leader. He was active in operational planning and in driving tactical decisions within al-Qaeda.”
Following the death of bin Laden, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism Juan Zarate said that al-Zawahiri would "clearly assume the mantle of leadership" of al-Qaeda. But a senior U.S. administration official said that although al-Zawahiri was likely to be al-Qaeda's next leader, his authority was not "universally accepted" among al-Qaeda's followers, particularly in the Gulf region. Zarate said that al-Zawahiri was more controversial and less charismatic than bin Laden. Rashad Mohammad Ismail (A.K.A. "Abu Al-Fida"), a leading member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, stated that al-Zawahiri was the best candidate.[dead link]
al-Zawahiri's succession to command of al-Qaeda was announced on several of their websites on June 16, 2011. On the same day, al-Qaeda renewed its position that Israel was an illegitimate state and that it wouldn't accept any compromise on Palestine.
The delayed announcement led some analysts to speculate that there was quarreling within al-Qaeda: “It doesn't suggest a vast reservoir of accumulated goodwill for him," said one celebrity journalist on CNN.” Both U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen maintain that the delay didn't signal any kind of dispute within al-Qaeda, and Mullen reiterated U.S. death threats toward al-Zawahiri. According to U.S. officials within the Obama administration and Robert Gates, al-Zawahiri would find the leadership difficult as, while intelligent, he lacks combat experience and the charisma of Osama bin Laden.
Terrorism analyst Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defence College said that, as al-Zawahiri didn't have the same status or personality as bin Laden, he would focus on attacking the West to avenge bin Laden's death and to promote himself.
Loyalty and enmity
In a lengthy treatise titled "Loyalty and Enmity," Zawahiri argues that Muslims must at all times be loyal to Islam and to one another, while hating or at least being clean from everything and everyone outside of Islam.
Zawahiri has said in an interview that the group does not have women combatants and that a woman's role is limited to caring for the homes and children of al-Qaeda fighters. This resulted in a debate regarding the role of mujahid women like Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi.
Video and audio messages
- May 2003: Tape was broadcast by al-Jazeera and included the directives (interpreted) "Raze/Singe the floor out from under their feet... the political and corporate interests of the United States... and Norway," which caused a global lockdown and extensive confusion for Norway.
- Early September 2003: A video showing al-Zawahiri and bin Laden walking together, as well as an audiotape, is released to the al-Jazeera network.
- September 9, 2004: Another video is released announcing more assaults.
- August 4, 2005: al-Zawahiri issues a televised statement blaming Tony Blair and his government's foreign policy for the July 2005 London bombings.
- September 1, 2005: al-Jazeera broadcasts a video message from Mohammed Sidique Khan, one of bombers of the London metro. His message is followed by another message from al-Zawahiri, blaming again Tony Blair for the bombings.
- September 19, 2005: al-Zawahiri claims responsibility for the London bombings.
- December 7, 2005: The full 40-minute interview from September is posted on the Internet with previously unseen video footage. See below for links.
- April 3, 2008: al-Zawahiri said that al-Qaeda doesn't kill innocents and that its [former] leader Osama bin Laden is healthy. The questions asked his views about Egypt and Iraq, as well as Hamas.
- April 22, 2008: An audio interview in which, among other subjects, al-Zawahiri attacks the Shiite Iran and Hezbollah for blaming the 9/11 attacks on Israel, and thus discrediting al-Qaeda.
- On the 7th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, al-Zawahiri released a 90-minute tape, in which he blasted "the guardian of Muslims in Tehran" for "the two hireling governments" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- January 7, 2009: An audio message released, where al-Zawahiri vows revenge for Israel's air and ground assault on Gaza and calls the Jewish state's actions against Hamas militants "a gift" from U.S. President-elect Barack Obama for the recent uprising conflict in Gaza.
- June 2, 2009: Audio messages claiming that Barack Obama is not welcome in Egypt.
- July 15, 2009: al-Zawahiri urges Pakistanis to support the Taliban.
- October 4, 2009: The New York Times reported that al-Zawahiri had asserted that Libya had tortured Ibn Al Sheikh Al Libi to death. Al Libi was a key source the George W. Bush Presidency had claimed established that Iraq had provided training to al-Qaeda in Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction.
- December 14, 2009: In an audio recording released on December 14, 2009, al-Zawahiri renewed calls to establish an Islamic state in Israel and urged his followers to “seek jihad against Jews” and their supporters. He also called for jihad against America and the West, and labeled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia as the “brothers of Satan”.
- June 8, 2011: al-Zawahiri released his first video since the death of Osama bin Laden, praising bin Laden and warning the USA of reprisal attacks, but without staking a claim on the leadership of al-Qaeda.
In mid-December 2007, al-Zawahiri's spokespeople announced plans for an "open interview" on a handful of Islamic Web sites. The administrators of 4 known jihadist web sites have been authorized to collect and forward questions, "unedited", they pledge, and "regardless of whether they are in support of or are against" al-Qaeda, which would be forwarded to al-Zawahiri on January 16. al-Zawahiri responded to the questions later in 2008; among the things he said were that al-Qaeda didn't kill innocents, and that al-Qaeda would move to target Israel "after expelling the occupier from Iraq".
Wanted in the United States and Egypt
- al-Zawahiri is under indictment in the United States for this role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. The Rewards for Justice Program of the U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to US$25 million for information about his location.
- For their leading role in anti-Egyptian Government attacks in the 1990s, al-Zawahiri and his brother Muhammad al-Zawahiri were sentenced to death in the 1999 Egyptian case of the Returnees from Albania.
- Egyptian Islamic Jihad
- FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
- Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif
- Messages of Ayman al-Zawahiri
- Messages of Osama bin Laden
- ^ Islamism: a documentary and reference guide (2008) Dr. John Calvert
- ^ al-Zawahiri is also sometimes transliterated al-Dhawahiri to reflect normative classical Arabic pronunciation beginning with [ðˤ]. The Egyptian Arabic pronunciation is [ˈʔæjmæn mæˈħæmmæd ɾˤɑˈbiːʕ elzˤɑˈwɑhɾi]; approximately: Ayman Mahammad Rabi Elzawahri.
- ^ fbi.gov
- ^ a b BBC: Ayman al-Zawahiri appointed as al-Qaeda leader, June 16, 2011
- ^ a b Saad Abedine (16). "Jihadist websites: Ayman al-Zawahiri appointed al Qaeda's new leader". Cable News Network.. http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/06/16/al.qaeda.new.leader/. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
- ^ a b Juan Zarate, Chris Wragge, CBS Early Show (May 3, 2011). Who now becomes America's next most wanted terrorist?. http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=90051&sitesection=nydailynews&VID=23411239.
- ^ CNN: Egyptian doctor emerges as terror mastermind, accessed June 16, 2011
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- ^ a b c El-Zayyat, Montasser, "Qaeda", 2004. tr. by Ahmed Fakry
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Bowcott, Owen (January 24, 2003). "Torture trail to September 11: A two-part investigation into state brutality opens with a look at how the violent interrogation of Islamist extremists hardened their views, helped to create al-Qaida and now, more than ever, is fuelling fundamentalist hatred.". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,12469,881096,00.html. Retrieved August 29, 2006.
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- ^ Wright, p. 179.
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- ^ a b Wright, p. 186.
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- ^ a b Wright, p. 250.
- ^ a b c Wall Street Journal, "Saga of Dr. Zawahri Sheds Light On the Roots of al Qaeda Terror".
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- ^ Naughton, Philippe (August 4, 2005). "The man they call Osama bin Laden's brain". The Times (UK). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article551544.ece. Retrieved May 3, 2008.
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- ^ AFP, Iran holding Zawahiri, Abu Ghaith; al-Arabiya TV, June 28, 2003.
- ^ Pakistan: At least 4 terrorists killed in U.S. strike – USA Today.
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- ^ Rob Crilly (16). "Al-Qaeda's new leader could launch 'big' attack on West". telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8579793/Al-Qaedas-new-leader-could-launch-big-attack-on-West.html. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
- ^ Ibrahim, Raymond (2007). The Al Qaeda Reader. Broadway Books. pp. 63. ISBN 9780767922623. http://books.google.dk/books?id=Tdx3M-bHj34C&dq=al+qaeda+reader&hl=en&ei=BpsATvXcAou-vgOQxtjrDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA.
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- ^ Anti-Defamation League: "Al Qaeda Second-in-Command Calls for ‘Jihad against Jews’” December 17, 2009
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- ^ Musharbash, Yassin (January 16, 2007). "Ask al-Qaida: A jihadi advice column? Osama bin Laden's second-in-command answers questions from fans of the terror group worldwide". Salon/Der Speigel. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/01/16/ask_al_qaida/.
- ^ Zawahiri answers back IHS, May 2, 2008
- ^ The Open Meeting with Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri archived on March 26, 2009 from the original
- ^ Copy of indictment USA v. Usama bin Laden et al., Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
- ^ Wanted poster for al-Zawahiri, Rewards for Justice Program, US Department of State.
- Kepel, Gilles; & Jean-Pierre Milelli (2010), Al Qaeda in its own words, Harvard University Press, Cambridge & London, ISBN 978-0-674-02804-3.
- Mansfield, Laura (2006), His Own Words: A Translation of the Writings of Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri, Lulu Pub.
- al-Zawahiri, Ayman, L'absolution, Milelli, Villepreux, ISBN 978-2-916590-05-9 (French translation of Al-Zawahiri's latest book).
- Ibrahim, Raymond (2007), The Al Qaeda Reader, Broadway Books, ISBN 9780767922623.
- Works by or about Ayman al-Zawahiri in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Ayman al-Zawahiri collected news and commentary at Al Jazeera English
- Ayman al-Zawahiri collected news and commentary at CNN
- Ayman al-Zawahiri collected news and commentary at Dawn
- Ayman al-Zawahiri collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Ayman al-Zawahiri collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Ayman al-Zawahiri at the Notable Names Database
- Statements and interviews
- Fatwa from World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, Federation of American Scientists, Statement with bin Laden, February 23, 1998
- Excerpts and video footage released December 1, 2005 from the September 2005 interview, MEMRI
- Al-Zawahiri Calls on Muslims to Give Aid to Earthquake Victims in Pakistan
- Letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi, copy at GlobalSecurity.org
- The Man Behind Bin Laden, Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, September 16, 2002
- Al-Zawahiri: US faces Afghan, Iraq defeat, Aljazeera English, September 9, 2004
- Ayman Al-Zawahiri's Knights under the Prophet's Banner: the al-Qaeda Manifesto, Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, Military Review, January–February 2005
- report on the al-Zarqawi video tape, CNN, January 2006
- Responses to some of the Online Q&A[dead link]
al-Qaeda Leadership Former leadershipOsama bin Laden (Killed) · Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Captured) · Anwar al-Awlaki (Killed) · Nasir al-Wuhayshi (Killed) · Younis al-Mauritani (Captured) · Mohammed Atef (Killed) · Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (Killed) · Atiyah Abd al-Rahman (Killed) · Ilyas Kashmiri (Killed) · Mohamed Atta (Killed in 9/11 Attacks) · Khadr family (Captured/Killed) · Samir Khan (Killed) Attacks1993 World Trade Center bombing · 1998 United States embassy bombings · USS Cole bombing · September 11 attacks · 2002 Bali bombings · Iraq Ashura bombings · 2004 Madrid train bombings · 7 July 2005 London bombings · 23 November 2006 Sadr City bombings · 18 April 2007 Baghdad bombings · 2007 Algiers bombings (April, December) · 2007 Yazidi communities bombings · 2008 Danish embassy bombing in Islamabad · 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting · Northwest Airlines Flight 253 · Cargo planes bomb plot · Timeline of al-Qaeda attacks Wars Affiliates Conspiracy/Propaganda Video & Audio Alleged chiefs of al-Qaeda Head of al-Qaeda Military chiefs Financial chiefsSaeed al-Masri (1995) al-Jihad under the leadership of Ayman al-Zawahirial-Zawahiri ran AJ from 1991 until 2001, when it merged with al-Qaeda Vanguards of Conquest The Core of al-Jihad Killed in operationsNazih Nushi Rashed, Tarek Abdel-Nabi Alleged members of al-JihadHani al-Sibai, Ali Mohamed, Ahmad Salamah Mabruk, Essam al-Qamari, Muhammad al-Zery, Mahmoud Jaballah, Ibrahim Ismail Allam, Ibrahim Eidarous, Adel Abdel Bary, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, Barakat Fahim Ali Mohamed, Muhammad al-Zery, Salem el-Masri, Sayyed Ahmed Abdel-Maqssuod, Sayyed Ajami, Osama Hassan Ahmed, Saeed Salama, Abdel Fahmi, Issam Alim, Ahmad Isma'il 'Uthman, Mahmud Hisham al-Hennawi, Ali Sayyid Muhamed Mustafa al-Bakri, Abu Muaz al-Masry, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Naggar, Tareq Ali Mursi, Magid Mostafa, Mohammad Hassan Mahmoud, Mohammad Huda, Shawqi Salama Mustafa Atiya, Abu Talal al-Qasimi, Mohamed Hassan Tita, Ameen Yusef al-Domeiry, Khaled Medhet al-Fiqi, Muhammad Abdelrahim al-Sharqawi, Muhammad al-Zawahiri, Yusef Abdel Majeed, Essam Hendawi, Abdel Hadi al-Tunsi, Nabeel al-Bora'i, Essam Hasheesh, Waheed Gamal al-Deen, Hassan Ali, Ismaeel Tantawi, Osman Rabei
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