The New Osama bin Laden: An Egyptian Man?

According Al-Jazeera, al-Qaida has appointed an Egyptian militant as temporary leader after the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. commandos. But whether Saif al-Adel — who criticized the Sept. 11 attacks and is said to lack bin Laden's charisma — is viable as an actual replacement is still very much up in the air:

Reuters reports:

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 …

"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."

Adnan al-Khairi al-Masri was named al Qaeda's general command head, while Mohammed Nasser al-Wahshi would be Africa chief, Mohammed Adam Khan, an Afghan, would be in charge in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Fahd al-Iraqi would be responsible for the Afghan-Pakistani border region, Al Jazeera added.

U.S. prosecutors say Adel is one of al Qaeda's leading military commanders and helped plan the 1998 bomb attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. They also say he set up al Qaeda training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan in the 1990s.

But reports have suggested Adel viewed the September 11 attacks as a mistake and criticized bin Laden over them …


Audio and video announcements from bin Laden largely dried up in recent years while Zawahri recorded frequent messages. But Zawahri is seen as lacking the charisma and oratorical skills of bin Laden, a Saudi of Yemeni origin.

Al Qaeda has an active wing in Yemen but has not managed to establish itself in Egypt, the most populous Arab nation.


Read more at Reuters and the Huffington Post.

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