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June 16, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3920

Al-Qaeda: Al-Zawahiri To Succeed Bin Laden as Al-Qaeda Emir

June 16, 2011
Special Dispatch No. 3920

On June 16, 2011, Al-Qaeda's central command released a statement declaring Ayman Al-Zawahiri its new leader. Additionally, the central command reaffirmed a number of principles regarding its ideology, policy, and stance on some of the current events in the Arab and Islamic world.

Firstly, Al-Qaeda reaffirms its devotion to its fundamentalist Islamic worldview, i.e. its commitment to Salafi Islam. It then stresses its commitment to waging jihad against the U.S., Israel, and the "tyrant" rulers of the Islamic countries as a religious duty incumbent upon all Muslims [fard 'ayn]. The organization reaffirms its allegiance to all jihadi groups and elements, mentioning the Taliban and Al-Qaeda's affiliates in Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, North Africa, as well as the jihad groups in the Caucasus. In addition, Al-Qaeda expresses its solidarity with the Palestinians and vows not to rest until all of Palestine is liberated, promising that it will never recognize Israel nor accept the concession of a single inch of Palestine. It also says it will continue to fight toward freeing all Muslim prisoners, especially those in U.S. prisons, making specific mention of the "blind sheikh," 'Omar 'Abd Al-Rahman.

Al-Qaeda goes on to reiterate its support for the uprisings in the Arab states, and urges all the Arab and Muslim peoples to rise up against their rulers and instate Islamic shari'a law, emphasizing that change in the Arab and Islamic world can only be achieved if it is rid of the Western hegemony. In this vein, the organization's leadership offers to cooperate with all Islamic groups in their efforts to expel foreign occupiers from Islamic lands.

The statement, which was posted on jihadi websites and released by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Fajr Media Center, opens with a reiteration of the news of Osama bin Laden's death, praising him as a martyr and praying that Allah grant him the highest reward. ...

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