Shmukh forum user Amal wa-Alam complains that the brothers are disparaging Sayf al-`Adl, the operational leader of al-Qaeda. “They are beginning to talk about him as if he is a nobody.” Amal strongly disagrees and adduces as evidence West Point’s study of his handiwork in Africa that Clint Watts, Jake Shapiro, and Vahid Brown had a hand in. “It’s strange that the Americans know” and the brothers do not.
It’s not clear who these naysaying brothers are, and another Shmukh user disagrees with Amal, saying that he has heard no disparaging remarks. But if it is true that Sayf is being criticized in some jihadi circles as irrelevant, it is quite a change from the rumors two months ago that he was the acting head of al-Qaeda after Bin Laden’s death.
This isn’t the first time that jihadi leaders have referenced the studies of American and European analysts to bolster their authority. This latest post underlines once again that jihadism is not a static phenomenon but one influenced by those who study it and vice versa.