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Ayman al-Zawahiri is new Al Qaeda chief

Last updated on: June 16, 2011 15:06 IST

Ayman al-Zawahiri is new Al Qaeda chief

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Vicky Nanjappa

It's official -- Ayman al-Zawahiri has been chosen to lead the dreaded Al Qaeda.

The death of Osama bin Laden had left a vaccum in the Al Qaeda. Although they were very sound when it came to execution and operations, what they lacked was an idelogical figure to whom people could look up to. This gap will now be filled in by Zawahiri.

Zawahiri like Osama will continue to focus his resources on the United States. However, the lurking danger is that he would want to carry out something spectacular in a bid to announce his arrival.

Indian agencies point out that even though Al Qaeda has never been much of a worry for India, the outfit still motivates the Indian jihadi. During recruitment, videos of Al Qaeda operations, especially the 9/11 attack, are still shown.

Interrogations conducted on several terrorists in India have revealed that Osama was their biggest inspiration, as he took on the mighty US single handedly.

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Although Zawahiri has made it clear that jihad against the US would continue despite the death of Laden, Indian agencies suspect that he may try and play a role in Kashmir -- the next biggest target of jihadi factions after the US.

Zawahiri is not new to the job. Although Osama was the face of the Al Qaeda, he had taken a back seat in the last five years thanks to a falling out with Zawahiri.

According to the Indian agencies, Zawahiri had sidelined Osama as he felt that the latter did not have the resources to finance the group any longer. Although there was no major war of words between the duo, Osama had been told by Zawahiri to lie low and not involve himself too much with the outfit.


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With Zawahiri taking over, the outfit's structure started appearing a bit changed. Under his directions, newer tie-ups had been formed. The 313 brigade was given absolute control over the training wing of the Al Qaeda while the Haqqani Network was roped in for operations.

When one looks at these two wings, it is clear that both have a keen interest in Kashmir, as their leaders started out their battle over there.

This gives one the suspicion whether Zawahiri may also permit the Al Qaeda to play a bigger part in Kashmir.

The new leader, although not as charismatic as Osama, does enjoy a lot of clout within the outfit.



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