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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ayman Al Zawahiri Releases Video Eulogy For Osama bin Laden

Al Qaeda's former deputy leader, Ayman Al Zawahiri, issued a statement on the death of Osama bin Laden, praising his life but not explicitly addressing the question of who would succeed him as emir of Al Qaeda.

The video, in Arabic with no subtitles, was posted to jihadist forums this morning. According to Der Spiegel (German), Zawahiri called for support to Al Qaeda in Yemen and a jihad against the Syrian regime, as well as making vague threats of revenge.

Update: AP has a preliminary story on the video in English here.

Update 2: ABC seems to think Zawahiri came off as large and in charge of Al Qaeda in the video. The consensus on the forums and among the Twitterfolk I follow seems to be that this was not an inaugural address.

Zawahiri criticized the burial of bin Laden at sea, and urged Pakistanis to follow the Arab Spring and rise up against the government. This is not the first time we've heard him say that, although the Arab Spring frame of reference is now.

The video lasts just under half an hour. Production on the video was completed May 30, nine days before it was released. Zawahiri's speech was likely recorded earlier than that. The video was recorded in front of a plain backdrop, and Zawahiri wore a clip-on microphone.

A higher-quality screencap is here for use by media outlets. Mandatory credit to Intelwire when using the image.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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