Osama bin Laden, left, sits with his adviser and successor Ayman al-Zawahri, on November 10, 2001. Zawahiri, an Egyptian, is now the head of Al-Qaeda. REUTERS/HAMID MIR/EDITOR/AUSAF NEWSPAPER FOR DAILY DAWN
Jeff Stein, Newsweek: Ayman al-Zawahiri: How a CIA Drone Strike Nearly Killed the Head of Al Qaeda
He has been the forgotten man in the West’s desperate campaign to obliterate the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). He didn’t even merit a cameo in the celebratory coverage of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs in 2011. For several years, he has been described as the leader of a spent force.
Yet Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s mentor and successor, remains a key player in an attack threat to America that retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, the U.S. homeland security secretary, says is "worse today than what we experienced 16 years ago on 9/11.” And if officials in the Donald Trump administration have their way, al-Zawahiri’s name will soon be as familiar to the world as bin Laden’s once was.
The White House signaled a new, tougher approach to eliminating al-Zawahiri and his militant allies in early April with the appointment of Lisa Curtis to head the South Asia desk for the National Security Council. A well-known former CIA analyst, congressional staffer and foreign policy hawk in Washington, D.C’s think-tank circuit, Curtis caused a stir in February when she co-authored a piece arguing that the U.S. “should...hold Pakistan accountable for the activities of all terrorist groups on its soil.”
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WNU Editor: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has always been a high priority target for U.S. intelligence and the military, doubly so if theses reports are true .... An Islamic State - Al Qaeda Alliance? (April 18, 2017). But if reports that Pakistan is protecting him are true .... Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden's successor, sheltered by Pakistan's ISI: Report (IBTimes) .... he is not going to be an easy target to get.