About 40 years ago, when the world’s media recorded Ayman al-rants Zawahiri’s death from a cage at the back of an Egyptian courtroom, it was one of the last times the Al-Qaida leader was in the spotlight.
He was heard screaming in front of the camera about the torture of him and other prisoners by Egyptian prison guards. He began the group’s chant by saying: “We are Muslim.”
In addition to turning Zawahiri against the Egyptian government, his time in prison there also served as the catalyst for his lifelong animosity toward the United States.
When al-Zawahiri finally allied himself with Osama bin Laden, the animosity continued, but US drones fired two Hellfire missiles into his Kabul hideout, killing him. His enmity ended on Sunday, Afghan local time.
Al-Zawahiri served as Osama bin Laden’s assistant during the 9/11 attacks and was “deeply involved in the planning,” President Biden said on Monday.
Biden continued, mentioning the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, “For decades, he was the mastermind behind attacks against Americans.”
After American forces killed bin Laden in 2011, Biden went into detail about the Al-leadership of Zawahiri of Al-Qaida, including his recent calls for attacks against the United States and its allies.
Al-Zawahiri had a reputation for being abrasive and dogmatic. Still, Bruce Hoffman, director of the Georgetown University Center for Peace and Security Studies, predicted in 2011 that he might end up being an even more potent leader than bin Laden.
In contrast to bin Laden, Hoffman remarked that the man “had the street cred of having been a dyed-in-the-wool terrorist from the time he was a teenager.” “Yes, he lacks bin Laden’s telegenic. He isn’t as charismatic as bin Laden. Although he lacks bin Laden’s dulcet voice, he is still a very influential figure in the movement.”
Building a foundation for a larger Islamist movement had become Bin Laden’s mantra. He desired to work for a company that could survive without him. And in the ten years since bin Laden’s death, Al-Zawahiri has continued it.