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August 1, 2022 Special Announcements No. 1230

Following Reported Death In Drone Strike Of Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri – Exclusive MEMRI Jihad And Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Analysis Of Al-Qaeda's Remaining Leadership

August 1, 2022
Special Announcements No. 1230

On August 1, 2022, the Associated Press reported that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri had been killed in a drone strike.[1] The strike immediately prompted questions of who is likely to take over leadership of the organization – a power transfer that has not happened since Osama bin Laden was killed in May 2011. The MEMRI Jihad And Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) research team published an analysis two weeks ago on Al-Qaeda's leadership, titled "A Look Into Al-Qaeda's Current Leaders." Below are excerpts from the introduction of that analysis.

https://www.memri.org/sites/default/files/2022/07/07142022_Zawahiri_Video_6_1.PNG
From the last known Al-Zawahiri recording, released July 14, 2022.  

Excerpt From MEMRI JTTM EXCLUSIVE: 'A Look Into Al-Qaeda's Current Leaders'

Al-Qaeda has seen significant changes in the past few years, primarily due to the targeting of many of its leaders by U.S. military and intelligence counterterrorism campaigns, as well as the decline of some of the group's regional affiliates in the face of the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and other jihadi groups, like Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) in Syria.

The group's original circle of command has diminished, as the number of members who fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Osama Bin Laden era and remain alive and at large continues to shrink, leaving few potential heirs if top leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri dies or is captured.

Al-Qaeda functions as a highly decentralized network of affiliated insurgent groups, each active in its own region, with minimal oversight from the organization's Central Command.[2] These groups mainly carry out military operations against their local governments. The most recent attack against the U.S. or Western countries was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in December 2019 – an attack on Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.[3]

MEMRI JTTM has reviewed the statements, books, and multimedia productions disseminated by Al-Qaeda and its affiliated media outlets, which highlight the messaging and combat strategies of the organization's branches and leadership. Based on this research, the following report will provide insight on the remaining first generation of Al-Qaeda's leaders and on the modus operandi of its current regional leaders. It will also provide the available background information, presumed location, and media appearances of the leaders who are involved in localizing the organization's strategy across its regions of activity.

JTTM subscribers can click here to view the report.

To view this report in full, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to [email protected] with "Membership" in the subject line.

Note to media and government: For a full copy of these reports, send an email with the title of the report in the subject line to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.

 

[1] Apnews.com/hub/ayman-al-zawahri, August 1, 2022.

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