The “second man” or al-Zawahiri’s son-in-law… Who is the next leader of the “Al-Qaeda” organization?

After the killing of the leader of the “Al-Qaeda” organization, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a US raid, at dawn on Tuesday, some names have been put forward who are widely expected to assume the leadership of the organization, and others that may constitute a “precedent”.

Among the most prominent names brought forward even before the assassination of Al-Zawahiri, “Saif al-Adl”, whose real name is Muhammad Salah al-Din Zaidan, is the second “man” in the organization, and his name was mentioned in the American “Rewards for Justice” program.

A photo of the “Sword of Justice” published by the FBI in 2001

The International Center for Counter-Terrorism says there is debate over who will succeed Al-Zawahiri, and there has long been speculation about Saif al-Adel’s takeover.

Saif al-Adl, who was a lieutenant colonel in the Egyptian Special Forces, is a prominent member of the Shura Council, the highest leadership council in al-Qaeda, and heads the military committee, according to the US State Department .

Britain and the United States previously offered financial rewards of 7.5 million pounds, and 10 million dollars, for information about him after his involvement in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which left 224 people dead has.

It is believed, according to United Nations reports, that he is currently in Iran, while a former Afghan government official with extensive knowledge of counter-terrorism matters said that he had already learned of his departure from Iran to Afghanistan , according to CNN.

In a report published before al-Zawahiri’s murder, the Counter-Terrorism Center said that given his extensive experience as a military commander and his role in operational planning, he could act as an intermediary for the group and a leader act that changes the way. it works

The United Nations reports that if he tries to move openly into Afghanistan, he may face resistance from the Taliban government, given the international pressure such a move would cause.

The Atlantic Council Foundation in Washington says he has long been a guest of the Iranian regime, as they shared a “common enemy” in recent years.

A former Western counterterrorism official told Voice of America that many intelligence agencies around the world have concerns about this man.

Abd al-Rahman al-Maghribi, the son-in-law of al-Zawahiri

Others speculate that Abd al-Rahman al-Mughrabi, al-Zawahiri’s brother-in-law, the third-ranking leader in the organization and head of media affairs, according to the Counter-Terrorism Center, may take over and is also believed to be in Iran.

Rewards for Justice has offered a reward of up to $7 million for information about him.

The documents found during the military operation that led to the killing of the former leader of “Al-Qaeda”, Osama bin Laden, indicate that Al-Mughrabi rose strongly in the organization in Afghanistan and Pakistan for many years. has. After years of international pressure, he moved to Iran, where he continued to oversee the organization’s activities around the world.

Voice of America says he is in Iran, along with many of the group’s middle-command leaders.

Al-Maghrebi is al-Zawahiri’s son-in-law, implying a family relationship similar to the one that made Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, the most likely heir to the leadership of al-Qaeda before his death.

Abd al-Rahman al-Maghribi, al-Zawahiri's son-in-law

Abd al-Rahman al-Maghribi, al-Zawahiri’s son-in-law

These family ties, as well as his experience running global media for Al-Qaeda, may give him the “good will” to take over from Al-Zawahiri.

Other well-known leaders such as Abu Ikhlas al-Masri, an Egyptian operations commander who spent years in Afghanistan and established close ties with local tribes, especially in Kunar, could be chosen.

Afghan Amin Muhammad al-Haq Khan, the former security coordinator for Osama bin Laden, was subject to UN sanctions because of his association with al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Leaders from Africa.. less likely

There are also speculations that leaders loyal to the organization will take over in Africa, which will set a “precedent”. Among the nominated names are Abu Obeida Yousef Al-Anabi (known as Yazid Mubarak), a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Ahmed Diri, also known as Ahmed Omar, and Abu Obeid, a leader of the Al- Shabab movement.

Al-Anabi pledged allegiance to Al-Zawahiri

Al-Anabi pledged allegiance to Al-Zawahiri

The US State Department’s “Rewards for Justice Program” offered a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to Al-Annabi’s location, and $6 million to the “al-Shabab” leader.

Annabi, an Algerian citizen, pledged allegiance to al-Zawahiri on behalf of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. He was previously appointed as a Senate leader in “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” and served on the organization’s Shura Council, serving as its first media officer.

On September 9, 2015, the US State Department designated Annabi a “global terrorist”.

Before becoming the leader of the “Al-Shabaab” movement, Ahmed Diri held several positions in it, including the position of the former deputy leader of the movement, Ahmed Abdi Godane, who followed his approach in the terrorist attacks carried out by the movement in Somalia “as one of the elements of the great global ambitions of Al-Qaeda,” according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. American.

“It would be unprecedented for senior leadership to move from the historical haven of Afghanistan and Pakistan to different parts of Africa,” Ron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Voice of America.

Although these groups “mainly focus on local insurgencies or regional conflicts rather than anything related to the West,” the group’s African affiliates are “increasing in power and influence.”

Over the past two years, intelligence agencies in UN member states have warned that AQIM has become a “logistical hub for al-Qaeda affiliates in Mali, while also finding ways to supply and potentially influence other armed groups.”

The rise of Al-Shabab was more visible, as it was warned that it had changed from an affiliated organization to an actor, providing financial support to the Al-Qaeda leadership.

But David Gartenstein-Ross, an analyst against terrorism, in his statements to “Voice of America” ​​ruled out that the African branch is the home of the leadership of “Al-Qaeda”. He said: “The organization’s guidance system is not a traditional command and control system … Its model tends to be strategy centralization with business decentralization.”

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