Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting to Know the New #1

Now that Osama Bin Laden has met his maker, it's time to get to know the new head of the snake that is Al Qaeda, the cerebral Egyptian-born doctor Ayman Al-Zawahri - just in case you see him at your next medical convention.  Whereas Bin Laden was the financier and figurehead of Al Qaeda, Al-Zawahri has always been the evilest of brains behind the operation.  Born into a family of scholars and doctors in Cairo in 1951, he developed an extreme interpretation of Islam, and was sentenced to death in absentia in 1999 for the 1997 Luxor Massacre of tourists.  (The attack 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".)  The attack so stunned and angered Egyptian society that Islamists even denied responsibility.  That's how brutal this guy is.  He is wanted by the U.S. in connection with the same-day bombings of three U.S. embassies in Africa.  Following the death of Bin Laden, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism Juan Zarate said Zawahiri would "clearly assume the mantle of leadership" of Al-Qaeda, but another senior U.S. administration official said that although he is likely to be the next leader, his authority is not "universally accepted" among Al-Qaeda's followers.  Zarate said Zawahri is more controversial and less charismatic than Bin Laden, and he is particularly harsh on the role of Muslim women.  Nice guy.  (Wikipedia)