Circle of Candidates for Succeeding Al-Qaeda’s Slain Leader Widens

Ayman al-Zawahiri, AFP
Ayman al-Zawahiri, AFP
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Circle of Candidates for Succeeding Al-Qaeda’s Slain Leader Widens

Ayman al-Zawahiri, AFP
Ayman al-Zawahiri, AFP

Experts have voiced different opinions about candidates who could possibly succeed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the slain All-Qaeda leader who was killed in a US raid carried out early last month in Afghanistan.

The list of key contenders to take over the militant organization has expanded to include new figures like Abu Ubaidah Youssef al-Annabi, Khalid Batarfi and Omar Ahmad Diri.

Saif Al-Adel and Abd Al Rahman Al-Maghrebi remain key candidates for succeeding Zawahiri.

Specialists in fundamentalist movements revealed that there is an ongoing dispute within al-Qaeda.

While close followers of Zawahiri insist on naming a successor, Osama bin Laden loyalists believe that it is dangerous to announce the name of the new leader now.

Bin Laden followers argued that announcing a new chief now will lead to the rupture and disintegration of the organization.

According to observers, al-Qaeda has lost several prominent leaders over the past years.

“Al-Qaeda is experiencing a state of fragmentation,” said Ahmed Zagloul, an Egyptian researcher specializing in the affairs of fundamentalist movements.

“This disintegration appeared clearly with the test of choosing a new leader.”

“Dispute over who will succeed al-Zawahiri is at its height within the organization, especially among branches,” Zaghloul told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Egyptian researcher Amro Abdulmoneim pointed out that the organization’s inability to select a new leader exposes “real conflict” between supporters of certain personalities from different branches of the organization.

According to Abdulmoneim, the delay in announcing a new al-Qaeda leader has lessened the chances of Saif Al-Adel taking over the position. This comes despite Saif Al-Adel having been considered the most prominent pick to succeed Zawahiri.

Abdulmoneim explained that “voices opposing Saif Al-Adel believe that there are many leaders who are qualified to assume the responsibility of leading the organization during the coming period.”

Among the reasons behind Zawahiri’s followers rejecting Saif Al-Adel’s nomination is that he does not enjoy the charisma needed for leadership, said Abdulmoneim.

However, Abdulmoneim listed other factors behind why Saif Al-Adel’s candidacy is being reconsidered.

These factors include the candidate’s sharp temper, fanatical opinions, and differences with Zawahiri in some intellectual matters.



Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
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Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthis will continue their military operations and escalate them "in quality and quantity" in support of Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, the Iran-backed group's leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The group have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November, forcing shippers to re-route cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The group later expanded the scope of its attacks to the Indian Ocean and said it would also target any ships heading towards Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea.