Al Zawahiri: Bin Laden's right-hand man and ideologue of global jihadism

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  • The Egyptian, founder of Al Qaeda together with Osama Bin Laden in the 1980s, succeeded his partner after his death in 2011 in another US military operation

Al Zawahiri: Bin Laden's right-hand man and ideologue of global jihadism

Those who knew him during his college years at Cairo University In the 1960s and 1970s, they spoke of him as a reserved, shy and very conservative young man. The son of a wealthy family of Egyptian doctors and academics, in his first years of studies, Ayman al Zawahiri followed the footsteps of his parents: medical studies.

But soon, after graduating from college, the man dropped out. practice and joined to the incipient Egyptian jihadist movement, deeply influenced by the theses and texts of the also Egyptian rigorous theorist Sayid Qutb.

From There, the jihadist would extend his fight throughout the Middle East. In the 1980s, between Pakistan and Afghanistan, fighting against the Soviets, met to a saudi charismatic, rigorous and, like him, coincidences of life, from a rich family. It was Osama Bin Laden. From that union would be born an incipient Al Qaeda: the first global jihadist organization.

Bin Laden's right hand man

Al Zawahiri was first Bin Laden's personal physician and adviser; and the ideological muscleof the group. After the death of the Saudi In 2011 – in a US operation in Pakistan – it was the Egyptian who was hailed as the new leader of the group.

Until this August, when Al Zawahiri was assassinated by a US drone attack on the house where he was hiding, in Kabul. According to Washington, the doctor arrived to AfghanistanAt the beginning of the year, a few months after the victory of the Taliban, a former group allied with Al Qaeda in the 1980s and 1990s.

A weak leader

During his reign in Al Qaeda from 2011 to 2022, Al Zawahiri, considered not very charismatic compared to his predecessor, saw how his organization dismembered and was lost. more and more followers. Gone are the years when the group was the most feared in the world.

In 2014, its Iraqi subsidiary broke He joined forces with the parent company of Al Qaeda to create the Islamic State (IS), under its leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. The IS won. the battle of “marketing” international attack on its former ally: the new jihadist project was much more radical and youngerthan the “old” Al Qaeda and its capacity for action and attacks, much greater. the same but in reverse. Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), the affiliate of Al Qaeda in this country, broke Al Zawahiri to show himself as more moderate and tolerant. HTS continues to be, at present, an intolerant and jihadist organization, but it rejects the terrorist actions and the territorial expansion outside the borders of Syria. Al Zawahiri, deserted on both sides, left to be the center.

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