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Ayman al-Zawahiri

Ayman al-Zawahiri

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Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri (, born June 19, 1951) is an Egyptian physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

. He was previously the second and last "emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar
Abbud al-Zumar
Abbud al-Zumar is an Egyptian Islamist and fundamentalist and former military intelligence colonel in the Egyptian Army.Born into one of the wealthiest and most prominent families in the Giza Governorate, he was founder and...

 in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life imprisonment
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

. His wife and three of his six children were killed in an air strike on Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 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
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 following the death of Osama bin Laden
Death of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden, then head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time by a United States special forces military unit....

. 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
Surgeon
In medicine, a surgeon is a specialist in surgery. Surgery is a broad category of invasive medical treatment that involves the cutting of a body, whether human or animal, for a specific reason such as the removal of diseased tissue or to repair a tear or breakage...

; 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
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

 in 1986. al-Zawahiri has shown a radical understanding of Islamic theology
Islamic theology
Islamic theology is a branch of Islamic studies regarding the beliefs associated with the Islamic faith. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However, this term has taken a significant technical usage in Islamic history and theology, denoting those...

 and Islamic history. He speaks Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

. 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
Shura
Shura is an Arabic word for "consultation". The Quran and Muhammad encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who will be affected by that decision....

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
Death of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden, then head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time by a United States special forces military unit....

 on May 2, 2011.

Alternate names and sobriquets


Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is pronounced ˈʔæjmæn mʊˈħæmːæd rɑˈbiːʕ azˤːɑˈwæːhɪriː or aðˤːɑˈwæːhɪriː in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 (the latter is in the Classical). Zawahiri is usually spelled Zawahri (from the pronunciation in his native Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the language spoken by contemporary Egyptians.It is more commonly known locally as the Egyptian colloquial language or Egyptian dialect ....

), but is sometimes spelled "Dhawahri" if transliterated directly from Modern Standard Arabic, also called Literary Arabic
Literary Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic , Standard Arabic, or Literary Arabic is the standard and literary variety of Arabic used in writing and in most formal speech....

, 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
Upper middle class
The upper middle class is a sociological concept referring to the social group constituted by higher-status members of the middle class. This is in contrast to the term "lower middle class", which is used for the group at the opposite end of the middle class stratum, and to the broader term "middle...

 family in Maadi
Maadi
Maadi is a wealthy suburb south of Cairo, Egypt. The town is home to the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Cairo American College , Lycée Français du Caire , Misr American College , Maadi British International School , the Cairo Rugby Club, and the national Egyptian Geological Museum.-...

, Egypt, a suburb of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, 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
Sayyid Qutb
Sayyid Qutb was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamist theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s....

 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
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

. The following year the Egyptian government executed Qutb for conspiracy
Conspiracy (political)
In a political sense, conspiracy refers to a group of persons united in the goal of usurping or overthrowing an established political power. Typically, the final goal is to gain power through a revolutionary coup d'état or through assassination....

, 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
Cairo University
Cairo University is a public university located in Giza, Egypt.The university was founded on December 21, 1908, as the result of an effort to establish a national center for educational thought...

 in 1974 with gayyid giddan
Academic grading in Egypt
In Egypt the academic grading system functions with a worded grade and increases in increments from 30-10 points.The title gayyid giddan or very good denotes the second highest mark possible, on par with a "B" student.- References :...

. 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
Muhammad al-Zawahiri
Muhammad Rabee al-Zawahiri was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court, but instead continues to be held and interrogated by Egyptian security forces...

—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
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces consists of a body of 20 senior officers in the Egyptian military. As a consequence of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the Council took the power to govern Egypt from its departing President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011.The junta meets regularly, as...

, 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
Cairo University
Cairo University is a public university located in Giza, Egypt.The university was founded on December 21, 1908, as the result of an effort to establish a national center for educational thought...

. 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 jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

i 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
Down syndrome
Down syndrome, or Down's syndrome, trisomy 21, is a chromosomal condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It is named after John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. The condition was clinically described earlier in the 19th...

. In February 2004, Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah is a Saudi Arabian citizen, sentenced to death in Jordan and currently held in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Not neutral: Arrested in Pakistan in March 2002, he has been in US custody for more than eight years, four-and-a-half of them spent incommunicado in solitary confinement...

 was waterboarded, and subsequently stated that Abu Turab Al-Urduni
Abu Turab Al-Urduni
The son-in-law of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Turab al-Urduni is a Jordanian who has been described by the United States government as one of five individuals who were aware of the operational details of the September 11th attacks. The other four being Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Ramzi bin...

 had married one of al-Zawahiri's daughters.

Zaynab Khadr
Zaynab Khadr
The eldest child of the Khadr family, Zaynab Khadr was born in Canada to Maha el-Samnah and Ahmed Khadr.Following the 1992 injury that left Ahmed disabled, Zaynab became a "second mother" to the younger children....

 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.

Attempted coup


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
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

 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
Khalid Islambouli
Khalid Ahmed Showky Al-Islambouli was an Egyptian army officer who planned and participated in the assassination of Egypt's third president, Anwar Sadat, during the annual 6th October victory parade on 6 October 1981...

, who succeeded in assassinating Sadat during a military parade that October.

Imprisonment and torture allegations


Al-Zawahiri was one of hundreds arrested following Sadat's assassination; his lawyer, Montasser el-Zayat
Montasser el-Zayat
Montasser el-Zayat or Muntasir al-Zayyat is an Egyptian lawyer and author whose former clients, according to press reports, included Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya. He has written a book entitled Ayman al-Zawahiri as I Knew Him, which is strongly critical of al-Zawahiri. El-Zayat...

, said that Zawahiri was tortured in prison.

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
Essam al-Qamari
Essam Al-Qamari was a decorated tank commander and Major in the Egyptian army who smuggled weapons and ammunition from army strongholds for al-Jihad as a "disciple" of the late Sayyid Qutb....

, 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.

Leaving Egypt


In 1985, al-Zawahiri went to Saudi Arabia on Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 and stayed to practice medicine in Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

 for a year.He was reported to have first met bin Laden there a little later in 1986.

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
Takfir
In Islamic law, takfir or takfeer refers to the practice of one Muslim declaring another Muslim an unbeliever or kafir...

. 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
Maktab al-Khadamat
The Maktab al-Khidamat, also Maktab Khadamāt al-Mujāhidīn al-'Arab , also known as the Afghan Services Bureau, is reliably believed to have been founded in 1984 by Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden to raise funds and recruit foreign mujahidin for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan...

 (MAK); founded by the Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf Azzam was a highly influential Palestinian Sunni Islamic scholar and theologian, who preached in favor of defensive jihad by Muslims to help the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet invaders...

. 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
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 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
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 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
Al-Manar
Al-Manar is a Lebanese satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah, registered as Lebanese Media Group Company, broadcasting from Beirut, Lebanon. It has an offering a "rich menu" of high production news, commentary, and entertainment. The self-proclaimed "Station of the Resistance" ,...

 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
9/11 conspiracy theories
9/11 conspiracy theories are theories that disagree with the widely accepted account that the September 11 attacks were perpetrated solely by al-Qaeda. These theories arose because of what proponents of the conspiracy theories believe to be inconsistencies in the official conclusions or some...

 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 mine
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

s—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
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya is an Egyptian Islamist movement, and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union and Egyptian governments...

, that had killed over 200 people. Her funeral became a public spectacle, with her coffin carried through the streets of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 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
Attack on the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan
Carried out by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the November 19 1995 attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan was retaliation against the diplomatic staffers who were accused of gathering intelligence on Jihad factions inside Pakistan...

, 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"

Expulsion from Sudan and time spent in Russia


Following the 1994 execution of the sons of Ahmad Salama Mabruk
Ahmad Salama Mabruk
Ahmad Salam Mabruk was the alleged leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad's Azeri cell. He was one of 14 people subjected to extraordinary rendition by the CIA prior to the 2001 declaration of a War on Terror.-Life:...

 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
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

". A fake passport he was using shows that he traveled to Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong."

On December 1, 1996, Ahmad Salama Mabruk
Ahmad Salama Mabruk
Ahmad Salam Mabruk was the alleged leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad's Azeri cell. He was one of 14 people subjected to extraordinary rendition by the CIA prior to the 2001 declaration of a War on Terror.-Life:...

 and Mahmud Hisham al-Hennawi
Mahmud Hisham al-Hennawi
Mahmud Hisham al-Hennawi , also known by his kunya Abu Sahl, was an Islamic militant with ties to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad who was killed in Chechnya in 2005.-Early life:...

 – both carrying false passports – accompanied al-Zawahiri on a trip to Chechnya
Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

, 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
Makhachkala
-Twin towns/sister cities:Makhachkala is twinned with: Sfax, Tunisia Siping, China Spokane, United States Vladikavkaz, Russia Yalova, Turkey Ndola, Zambia-See also:*...

 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
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

 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
Alexander Litvinenko
Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was an officer who served in the Soviet KGB and its Russian successor, the Federal Security Service ....

 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
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 officer and writer Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy
Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy
Konstantin Georgiyevich Preobrazhenskiy is a former KGB officer, an intelligence expert and the author of several books and numerous articles about Russian secret police organizations....

 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
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

, 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
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya is an Egyptian Islamist movement, and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union and Egyptian governments...

, 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. Zawahiri was sentenced to death in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

 in 1999 by an Egyptian military tribunal
Military tribunal
A military tribunal is a kind of military court designed to try members of enemy forces during wartime, operating outside the scope of conventional criminal and civil proceedings. The judges are military officers and fulfill the role of jurors...

.

Fatwa with Osama bin Laden


On February 23, 1998, he issued a joint fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 with Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 under the title "World Islamic Front Against Jews and Crusaders
World Islamic Front
The World Islamic Front is the organization that issued the World Islamic Front Statement of 23 February 1998, "Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders" , listing the actions of Americans that they claim conflict with "Allah's order", and stating that the Front's "ruling to kill the Americans and their...

". 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
Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev
Zelimkhan Abdumuslimovich Yandarbiyev was a Chechen writer and a politician, who served as acting president of the breakaway Chechen Republic of Ichkeria between 1996 and 1997...

 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
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

, Tanzania and Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

, Kenya. The attacks brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to international attention.

Following the 2000 USS Cole bombing
USS Cole bombing
The USS Cole Bombing, or the USS Cole Incident, was a suicide attack against the United States Navy destroyer on October 12, 2000 while it was harbored and refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors were killed, and 39 were injured...

, Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef was the alleged military chief of al-Qaida, although his role in the organization was not well known by intelligence agencies for years...

 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
Hamid Mir
Hamid Mir is a Pakistani journalist and editor. He is also a news anchor, terrorism expert, and security analyst who regularly participates in international conferences. He is also known for his columns in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and English newspapers and hosts a popular political talk show on Geo...

 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
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

's top 22 Most Wanted Terrorists
FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted Terrorists is a list of fugitives who have been indicted by sitting Federal grand juries in the United States district courts, for alleged crimes of terrorism. The initial list was formed in late 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks...

, which was released to the public by U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. In early November 2001, the Taliban government announced they were bestowing official Afghan citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 on him, as well as Bin Laden, Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef was the alleged military chief of al-Qaida, although his role in the organization was not well known by intelligence agencies for years...

, Saif al-Adl, and Shaykh Asim Abdulrahman
Asim Abdulrahman
The son of Omar Abdur Rahman, Asim Abdulrahman was described as "among the closest" of Osama bin Laden's followers in the days following the September 11th attacks in 2001....

.

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
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, 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
Battle of Wana
The Battle of Wana was a military engagement between Pakistan Army and the Taliban forces, supported by the foreign fighters of Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda. The battle was among one of the bloodiest battle fought by the Pakistan Army, and it ended violently with 49 infantry troop soldiers dead...

 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
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, aided by Pakistan's ISI, launched an airstrike on Damadola
Damadola airstrike
On 13 January 2006 the Central Intelligence Agency fired missiles into the Pakistani village of Damadola in the Bajaur tribal area, about seven kilometres from the Afghan border, killing at least 18 people. Originally the Bajaur tribal area government claimed that at least four foreign members...

, 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
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 troops and Special Service Group taking control of the Red Mosque in Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

 found letters from al-Zawahiri directing Islamic militants Abdul Rashid Ghazi
Abdul Rashid Ghazi
Abdul Rashid Ghazi was an Islamist Pakistani cleric; son of Maulana Muhammad Abdullah, and younger brother of Abdul Aziz Ghazi. He was descended from the Sadwani clan of Mazari tribe in the town of Rojhan in Rajanpur, the border district of Punjab province of Pakistan.Abdul Rashid Ghazi was killed...

 and Abdul Aziz Ghazi
Abdul Aziz Ghazi
Muhammad Abdul Aziz is a Pakistani cleric, son of Maulana Muhammad Abdullah and elder brother of Abdul Rashid Ghazi. He was the Khateeb in the central mosque of Islamabad known as Lal Masjid, which was the site of a siege in 2007 with the Pakistani army...

, who ran the mosque and adjacent madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

. This conflict resulted in 100 deaths.

On August 1, 2008, CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 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
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 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
Mohmand Agency
The Mohmand Agency is a district in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan created in 1951. Before that, the Mohmand Tribes were administered by the Deputy Commissioner based in Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. However it was not until 1973 that the headquarters of...

, in northwest Pakistan. After raiding the area, officials didn't find him.

Emergence


On April 30, 2009, the U.S. State Department reported that al-Zawahiri had emerged as al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

's operational and strategic commander and that Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 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
Abbottabad
Abbottabad is a city located in the Hazara region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Pakistan. The city is situated in the Orash Valley, northeast of the capital Islamabad and east of Peshawar at an altitude of and is the capital of the Abbottabad District...

 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
Juan Zarate
Juan Zarate was a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism during the George W. Bush administration...

 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
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a militant Islamist organization, primarily active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It was named for al-Qaeda, and says it is subordinate to that group and its now-deceased leader Osama bin Laden, a Saudi citizen whose father was born in Yemen...

, stated that al-Zawahiri was the best candidate.

Formal appointment


al-Zawahiri's succession to command of al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 was announced on several of their websites on June 16, 2011. On the same day, al-Qaeda renewed its position that Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 was an illegitimate state and that it wouldn't accept any compromise on Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

.

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
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

.” Both U.S. Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces, and is the principal military adviser to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council and the Secretary of Defense...

 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.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 officials within the Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 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
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

.

Terrorism analyst Magnus Ranstorp
Magnus Ranstorp
Dr Magnus Ranstorp, born March 13, 1965 in Hästveda, studies Hizballah, Hamas, al-Qaeda and other militant Islamic movements. He is the Research Director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, directing a project on Strategic Terrorist Threats to Europe...

 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.

Female combatants



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
Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi
Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi is a would-be female suicide bomber, who took part in the 2005 Amman bombings in Jordan but survived when her explosive belt failed to detonate...

.

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
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    ... and Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    ," which caused a global lockdown and extensive confusion for Norway.
  • Early September 2003: A video showing al-Zawahiri and bin Laden
    Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

     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
    Tony Blair
    Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

     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
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     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
    Al-Qaeda
    Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

     doesn't kill innocents and that its [former] leader Osama bin Laden is healthy. The questions asked his views about Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

     and Iraq
    Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

    , as well as Hamas
    Hamas
    Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

    .
  • 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
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    , 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 Muslim
    Muslim
    A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

    s in Tehran
    Tehran
    Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

    " for "the two hireling governments" in Iraq and Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    .
  • 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
    Barack Obama
    Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

     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
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

    reported that al-Zawahiri had asserted that Libya
    Libya
    Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

     had tortured Ibn Al Sheikh Al Libi to death. Al Libi was a key source the George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     Presidency had claimed established that Iraq had provided training to al-Qaeda in Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Weapons of mass destruction
    A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

    .
  • 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
    Death of Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Laden, then head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time by a United States special forces military unit....

    , praising bin Laden and warning the USA of reprisal attacks, but without staking a claim on the leadership of al-Qaeda.

Online Q&A


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
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

, 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
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 "after expelling the occupier from Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

".

Wanted in the United States and Egypt

  • al-Zawahiri is under indictment in the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     for this role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam
    Dar es Salaam
    Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

    , Tanzania
    Tanzania
    The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

    , and Nairobi
    Nairobi
    Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

    , Kenya
    Kenya
    Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

    . The Rewards for Justice Program
    Rewards For Justice Program
    The Rewards for Justice Program is the counterterrorism rewards program of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service . The Secretary of State is currently offering rewards for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or...

     of the U.S. Department of State
    United States Department of State
    The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

     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
    Muhammad al-Zawahiri
    Muhammad Rabee al-Zawahiri was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court, but instead continues to be held and interrogated by Egyptian security forces...

     were sentenced to death in the 1999 Egyptian case of the Returnees from Albania
    Returnees from Albania
    The case of the Returnees from Albania was a massive criminal trial in an Egyptian military court from February to April 1999. The trial is one of the principal sources of information about Sunni terrorist groups in the 1990s, especially al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya and its offshoot Egyptian Islamic...

    .

See also


  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad
  • FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
    FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
    The FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list arose from a conversation held in late 1949 between J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William Kinsey Hutchinson, International News Service Editor-in-Chief, who were discussing ways to promote capture of the...

  • Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif
    Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif
    Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, , aka "Dr. Fadl" and Abd Al-Qader Bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz, has been described as a "major" figure "in the global jihad movement." He is said to be "one of Ayman Al-Zawahiri's oldest associates, and his book al-'Umda fi I'dad al-'Udda , was used as a jihad manual in Al-Qaeda...

  • Messages of Ayman al-Zawahiri
  • Messages of Osama bin Laden

External links



Statements and interviews
Articles