Six weeks after U.S. Navy SEALs killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, al-Qaeda’s General Command announced the appointment of bin Laden’s longtime deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri as the group’s new leader. While Zawahiri’s appointment resolves one question about the al-Qaeda’s future, it leaves a multitude of others unanswered: What course will al-Qaeda pursue? Who will handle its day-to-day operations? How much impact will Zawahiri really have?
As the Arab Spring heats up and nearly 10 years after the 9/11 attacks that seared al-Qaeda into the world’s consciousness, the AfPak Channel asked several terrorism experts to give their take on what al-Qaeda’s new leadership might mean for the organization:
- William McCants: The al-Qaeda Zawahiri inherits
- Leah Farrall: Al-Qaeda’s delayed announcement
- Daveed Gartenstein-Ross: Zawahiri’s ascension won’t change al-Qaeda’s strategy
- J.M. Berger: Zawahiri’s American court jester