Al Qaeda has a new (albeit interim) head: Saif al Adel. The choice is interesting for a bunch of reasons (most covered by Tom Jocelyn in Long War Journal).
Jocelyn provides the detail on al Adel’s experience in Iran and his ties to the same’s regime. He also lifts the lid on the laughable “house arrest” under which the mullahcracy supposedly kept high-ranking al Qaedites (basically, protection by another name). The piece is well worth the read.
I did find it interesting that Ayman al-Zawahiri stayed put, rather than move up to replace Osama bin Laden (now deep into the five stages of grief upon being forced to share an afterlife apartment with thirty-six militantly lesbian couples). Given that al Adel (one of al-Z’s compatriots in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad) was given the nod, al-Z may have voluntarily decided to refuse or not go for the top job, which would itself be a sign of the fear top leadership has of the American military.
Either way, one thing is clear: al Qaead and Tehran will cooperate more closely, and perhaps more openly now. The mullahs have long backed EIJ (the member who assassinated Anwar Sadat has a street in Tehran named for him) and clearly saw the group as its friendly piece within al-Q. On the plus side, this will make it harder for those who insist a bargain with Tehran can be struck. On the minus side, it means Tehran’s military resources (including wherever they are on nuclear development) will be more at al-Q’s disposal.
This is yet another example of the difference between simple and easy: the Wahhabist-Ba’athist-Khomeinist War has became much simpler to fight, but could be harder to win.
Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon