Al Qaeda names Adel as chief says report
Dubai, May 18, 2011
Al Qaeda has appointed an Egyptian militant as temporary leader and named a new head of operations following the killing of Osama bin Laden by US commandos, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday, citing its own correspondent.
In a brief news flash, the Arab satellite channel said Saif Al-Adel was named interim leader and Mustafa Al-Yemeni, whose surname hints he is from Yemen, would direct operations.
"I think it's more for show than anything else. It is to illustrate to the world that they have a temporary leader," Dubai-based security analyst Theodore Karasik said of Adel.
"Adel clearly has operational experience but he does not have the intellectual or charismatic side that bin Laden had."
US special forces shot dead Al Qaeda leader bin Laden in his hideout outside the capital of Pakistan earlier this month, almost 10 years after the September 11 attacks of 2001 killed around 3,000 people in the United States.
US prosecutors say Adel is one of Al Qaeda's leading military commanders and helped plan the bomb attacks on the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. They also say he set up Al Qaeda training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan in the 1990s.
But reports have suggested Adel viewed the September 11 attacks as a mistake and criticised bin Laden over them.
Mustafa Alani, a political analyst based in Dubai, said he doubted Adel had taken on a temporary leadership role, citing past disputes between Adel and bin Laden.
"This man was an opponent of bin Laden and the Sept 11 attacks. He criticised bin Laden personally, describing him as a dictator who took decisions without referring to his colleagues," he said.
Alani also said bin Laden was a symbolic leader who did not need to be replaced. "I am questioning the credibility of the need to replace him. Osama bin Laden is not a leader, he's an ideologist. The idea of replacing bin Laden as a manager -- it doesn't work this way," he said.
Adel was believed to have fled to Iran after the US invasion of Afghanistan following September 11 and was subsequently held under a form of house arrest there, according to some media reports.
Arab media reports said Iranian authorities released him from custody about a year ago, and he then moved back to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Some analysts say Adel may have returned to Iran or Afghanistan in recent weeks. - Reuters