Sayf al-`Adl a Nobody

Posted: 26th July 2011 by Will McCants in AQ Leadership, Western Analysts

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.

 

  1. ٌRafiq al-Akhdar says:

    Those rumors about Saif were spread only in the Western press.

  2. Mr. Orange says:

    There was a thread on Shumûkh about this recently. The threadstarter posted an article which I suppose had its origin in the Egyptian press. The article’s claim was that Sayf al ‘Adil doesn’t exist and is a ghost created by Western intelligence or Western media. The “Makkâwî mistake” was cited as evidence.

    The forum community answered that Sayf was a real and well known AQC operative and that contrary to the article’s claim he had indeed been mentioned before UBL’s death. The conspiracy theories about al-Zarqâwî that also said he wasn’t real were cited as counter-argument.

    This may be the reason for the complaining post you mentioned. In fact I was surprised how nice the posters treated the thread-starter. The one you saw seems to be somewhat more pissed. Unfortunately I can’t find the thread – it may have been deleted. While searching for it I saw quite some threads about Sayf. It seems like they try to convince possible doubters of his “realness” – his words on al-Zarqâwî were posted for example.

    Regards,

    Mr. Orange

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