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Meet Osama Bin Laden's (Temporary) Replacement Meet Osama Bin Laden's (Temporary) Replacement

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National Security

Meet Osama Bin Laden's (Temporary) Replacement

Al-Qaida has appointed a new "caretaker" leader following the death of Osama bin Laden, report Reuters and CNN. The new commander is named Saif al-Adel and will fill an interim operational role until the expected succession of bin Laden's long-time deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. What kind of qualifications does one need to (temporarily) fill the shoes of the world's most wanted terrorist? Here's a look at al-Adel's resumé, organized at no cost to the Al-Qaida up-and-comer by The Atlantic Wire:

  • Training former officer in the Egyptian Special Forces
  • Work Experience Fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the '80s. In the '90s, helped set up Al-Qaida training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan. In 1998, helped organize the bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. In the early 2000s, ordered Saudi Arabia's al-Qaida branch to launch a terror attacks against the Saudi government, which began in Riyadh in 2003 and killed "scores" of people.
  • Residence Fled from Afghanistan to Iran after the U.S. toppled the Taliban. According to Reuters, held under house arrest in Iran before being released. Subsequently moved to the Afganistan-Pakistan border.
  • Handicaps or conditions that may make it difficult to perform your job  Saif al-Adel is Egpytian, a choice CNN says may not be tolerated by Al-Qaida's Yemeni and Saudi members "who believe bin Laden's successor should come from the Arabian Peninsula, a region that is holy to all Muslims," writes CNN's Peter Bergen.
  • Mission Statement According to Noman Benotman, a former associate of bin Laden with knowledge of Al-Qaida's inner-workings, al-Adel will be tasked with collecting pledges from various Al-Qaida affiliates around the world to offer a religious oath to al-Zawahiri before he becomes Al-Qaida's permanent leader. This may be difficult because, like al-Adel, al-Zawahiri is Egyptian. Additionally, "there is scant evidence that al-Zawahiri has the charisma of bin Laden, nor that he commands the respect bordering on love that was accorded to bin Laden by members of al-Qaida," reports CNN.
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