Is Saif al Adel the acting leader of al Qaeda?


Saif al Adel

According to The News, Saif al Qaeda, the top al Qaeda strategist and a senior military leader, has been appointed as the temporary emir for the terror group after Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of US commandos on May 2 in Abbottabad. Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy, will remain second in command and will serve as the chief of military operations. For the shortlist of bin Laden’s potential successors, see LWJ report, After bin Laden: who will lead al Qaeda? Saif al Adel is second on the list, after Zawahiri.

Keep in mind that the report has not been confirmed, nor has al Qaeda made any official announcements in a change of its command structure. The report below from The News, in full:

Saif al Adel (Abu Saif), one of the pioneers of al-Qaeda, has been made chief of the party Command of Control for the time being, sources told The News.

The issue of the succession of Osama bin Laden was resolved in a meeting of al-Qaeda held at an undisclosed location. However, Muhammad Mustafa Yamni is likely to be made al-Qaeda chief after the grand consultation. Yamni is currently residing in an African country.

Saif al Adel is an Egyptian and has served at key posts in Egypt forces. He worked with Ayman al-Zawahiri in the al-Jihad group of Egypt, which was reportedly formed against Anwar Sadat. The sources said Ayman al-Zawahiri would continue holding his posts of al-Qaeda patron, and the chief of the al-Qaeda Militant Command. Zawahiri will also monitor the international contacts. Earlier, Saifal Adel performed this job.

The sources said Adnan al-Kashri had been made in-charge of the general information affairs. Muhammad Nasir al-Washi Abu Nasir has been made in-charge of al-Qaeda Africa affairs, while Muhammad Adam Khan Afghani has been appointed as in-charge of Afghanistan-Waziristan affairs. The sources said Fahad al-Qava had been appointed as the Urgent Operational Commander. The command of al-Qaeda has now been transferred to Egyptians. None of sons of Osama Bin Laden has shown willingness to join any post in the al-Qaeda.

Update: It does seem like Saif al Adel has been named the interim leader, but again this still has not been confirmed. See LWJ report, Analysis: Al Qaeda’s interim emir and Iran, for more on al Adel.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • AAndrew says:

    I’ve always believed that one method to significantly discrupt AQ is to continually take out top leadership faster than they can replace the role with an individual who is equally capable. That is over time, you can cause a de-evolution of the organization by having progressively less capable leadership, until you reach a tipping point when the organization is no longer effective.
    By taking out the #1, we essentially caused a ripple effect in which a lot of promotions had to occur inthe organization. The key is to take out the new #1 (and the current # 2) much more quickly than we did so that the future #1s and #2s will be increasingly less capable.
    Hopefully, with all the intel gleaned from OBL’s material we captured, we can find the new #1 (and the oldtime #2) soon and send them to hellfire with a Hellfire (or a volley of 10+).

  • Paul says:

    This guy just has a laser target fixed on him.
    I would not want that top slot. Every time he farts there’s gonna be Hellfire seeking him out.

  • ER says:

    Trend (out of Azerbaijan) is also reporting that Saif al-Adel is interim leader, and I’ve found Trend to be reliable.


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