Bin Laden was the true face of al-Qaida, but Ayman al-Zawahiri was its hate-filled heart : 0xbt

Bin Laden was the true face of al-Qaida, but Ayman al-Zawahiri was its hate-filled heart

One of the last times al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was on center stage was roughly 40 years back, when the international media captured his rants from a cage behind an Egyptian courtroom.

The cameras trapped him shouting about the torture he and other prisoners suffered as a result of Egyptian jailers. He started the group chanting: "We are Muslims. We are Muslims."

Zawahiri's prison time in Egypt not only set him up against the regime there, but also marked the beginning of his lifelong hatred of the U.S.

When he joined forces with Osama bin Laden eventually, he passed that enmity along, on Sunday local time in Afghanistan after an unmanned U but it ended for al-Zawahiri.S drone fired two hellfire missiles at a safe house in Kabul, killing him.

President Biden noted Monday that al-Zawahiri was Osama bin Laden's deputy during 9/11 and that he was "deeply mixed up in planning."

"For decades he was the mastermind behind attacks against Americans," Biden added, noting the 2000 USS Cole attack and the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

Biden also detailed al-Zawahiri's role leading al-Qaida since bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in 2011, including contacting followers in recent weeks to attack the U.S. and allies.

Bruce Hoffman, director of the guts for Peacefulness and Security Studies at Georgetown School, said in 2011 that while al-Zawahiri had a reputation for being prickly and dogmatic, he might emerge as an more powerful leader than bin Laden even.

"Unlike bin Laden, he had the street cred at having been a dyed-in-the-wool terrorist from the right time he was an adolescent," Hoffman said. "OK, he's not as telegenic as bin Laden. He lacks bin Laden's charisma. He doesn't have bin Laden's mellifluous voice, but he still is an extremely powerful body within the activity."

Bin Laden had talked about setting up a base for a broader Islamist movement as though it were a mantra. He wanted a business that didn't need him to survive. And al-Zawahiri has kept it going in the decade since bin Laden's death.
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