A Critical Reader
An indispensable resource for understanding the evolution of Al-Qaeda since the death of Osama bin Laden.
With a foreword by Cerwyn Moore.
On 16 June 2011, three days before his sixtieth birthday, Ayman al-Zawahiri was declared the new leader of Al-Qaeda, replacing the fallen Osama bin Laden. The veteran Egyptian jihadist has little of his predecessor’s charisma and enjoys much less popularity, respect and celebrity. Yet, as scores of jihadi commanders from different organisations have succumbed to their enemies’ missiles, bombs and bullets, Zawahiri has soldiered on. His tenure as Al-Qaeda’s leader has been marked by some of its darkest and most challenging moments, which have threatened the viability and future of Al-Qaeda’s central leadership. The gravest such development has been the emergence of Islamic State as a separate and rival jihadist entity.
The best way to gauge Zawahiri’s response to these threats is by analysing the statements and communiqués he has released since taking the reins. This book provides the reader with professional translations of Zawahiri’s key statements during his first five years as leader of Al-Qaeda. These official communications are introduced and contextualised to provide the reader with a comprehensive sourcebook, outlining the Al-Qaeda leadership’s stance on the challenges to its existence since the death of bin Laden.
Donald Holbrook is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at the University of Lancaster. He was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews. His publications include The Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership's Public Discourse (2014).