Libi loss is crippling blow for Al-Qaeda
US: Thirteen months after Osama bin Laden was killed, the loss of
charismatic propagandist Abu Yahya al- Libi is a crippling blow to
Al-Qaeda that could break up its central leadership, US experts say.
Killed Monday in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan, Libi was considered
to be number two in the hierarchy after bin Laden's successor, Ayman
al-Zawahiri, but experts say his influence outweighs simplistic numeric
distinctions. Beloved of rank-and-file jihadists, he held the religious
credentials that other leaders lacked and served an invaluable role as
an inspirational propagandist who kept the global terror network unified
and on message.
“The death of Abu Yahya al-Libi is a devastating blow to Al-Qaeda's
senior leadership, probably unrecoverable,” terrorism expert Jarret
Brachman of North Dakota State University told AFP.
“Nobody remaining in Al-Qaeda has his combination of scholarly
credentials, personal charisma, and the ability to steer and guide
Al-Qaeda's regional affiliates and broader global movement.” Zawahiri, a
60-year-old Egyptian former surgeon, is credited with great
organizational skill and cunning, but he lacks bin Laden's potent
charisma, and now his younger 49-year-old deputy -- a man who was in
many ways his perfect foil -- is also gone.
“Not only was Libi revered, but he was loved by Al-Qaeda's
followers,” said Brachman. “Abu Yahya not only illuminated the path for
Al-Qaeda but in many ways helped to blaze the ideological trail on which
the global movement would follow.” AFP