Monday, May 9, 2011

Wanted: Charismatic Terror Mastermind. Some Travel Required.

Via (May 3, 2011)

As speculation about al Qaeda's leadership succession mounts in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, the answer to who will assume control next lies in the organization's rules and regulations -- like those of any good corporation. Written and reviewed by a group of senior leaders, some of whom may now be poised to assume new positions within al Qaeda, they provide insight into how this critical transition will be handled, and will factor heavily into who is selected to move up the leadership ladder.

Al Qaeda's organizational protocols (some earlier versions of which are available at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point) make clear that a chain of succession exists. In the event of the capture or death of al Qaeda's emir (leader), power automatically transfers to the deputy emir (currently Ayman al-Zawahiri), with a executive council vote to follow -- confirming his permanent election to the position, or selecting another leader. If both the emir and his deputy are killed or captured, power temporarily goes to the head of the executive council (again with a vote following to confirm his leadership or select another member). The executive council is compromised of the emir and his deputy, as well as senior leaders from al Qaeda, usually those who head up a section in the organization, such as the military, security, or administration branches. It is a small body, probably now comprised of only a handful of members, although it once numbered around 10 when al Qaeda was safely ensconced in Afghanistan. It is from within this body that a new emir would be chosen if Zawahiri and his new deputy were to be killed or captured or otherwise deemed unfit to lead.


Leah Farrall is the author of the All Things Counter Terrorism Blog and is a former senior Counter Terrorism Intelligence Analyst with the Australian Federal Police (AFP). During her time with the AFP, Leah served as the organization’s al Qaeda subject matter specialist and worked on a range of international and domestic counter terrorism investigations.

As indicated by Will @ Jihadica, there will be no new Bin Laden...but only new leaders of AQ.

No comments:

Post a Comment