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    Analysis: Ayman al Zawahiri - "Fighting to be Relevant"

    Submitted by admin on Tue, 2007-01-23 21:03.

    By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

    23 January 2007: If the U.S. administration has done just one thing beautifully, it has successfully marginalized the current relevance of al Qaeda "leader" Ayman al-Zawahiri, relegating him to the dung heap of countless other modern-day Islamic "legends" who have failed in their quest to lead the Umma in a successful battle against the infidel. Al Zawahiri is showing his desperation with each successive video message, perhaps himself realizing that his messages are much like the proverbial tree falling in the forest when no one is present. The messages still have sound, but no one is hearing them.

    Based on the history of his abysmal failures relative to the jihad movement from the late 1970's to the present, this must be really eating away at his ego, knowing that in the grand scheme of global jihad, he will continue be a second-rate, third string player at best. In the war against Islamic fascists, al Zawahiri isn't even an effective cheerleader anymore. In 2007, the relevance of al Zawahiri lies more in the historical aspects of al Qaeda, not in the current state or future of the jihad movement, which, of course, is his life's ambition.

    Except to the war-time analysts (yes, we are at war) and Internet Bloggers who have created a cottage industry from his messages – those who are desperate to dissect each message to find some sort of hidden activation code interwoven into his orthodox Islamic drivel, the words of Ayman al Zawahiri are essentially meaningless, especially with respect to command and control of Islamic terrorists inside the North America. Make no mistake – the U.S. and Canada top the list of targets by the Islamic enemy, but Ayman al Zawahiri has little to do with those attacks in the planning stages that will be carried out or attempted here in the U.S. and Canada. If anything, placing too much emphasis on the diminutive, bearded man with a rhinoceros-type forehead who is fighting for relevancy will result in a skewed threat analysis of the short-term threats facing the U.S. and Canada.

    The Muslim terrorists of greater concern to the U.S. and Canada are not taking their cues from Ayman al Zawahiri – at least not in 2007. By now, everyone has heard of "homegrown terrorists," which, in my opinion, is a misleading description of two separate entities: second and even third generation Muslims living in America whose effectiveness and potential deadliness lies in their present dormancy, and second, those indigenous to the U.S. and Canada who are being groomed for jihad due to their perceived position in life. To those threats, the words of Zawahiri are little more than a punctuation mark in multiple paragraphs of Islamic terrorist propaganda.

    The message I am attempting to convey is simple: The U.S. has effectively defanged Ayman al Zawahiri as a currently relevant jihadist leader of the Islamic foot soldiers that present the most clear and present danger to the U.S. and Canada. The threat to us in North America remains high, but al Zawahiri has little to do with it. Placing too much emphasis on Zawahiri as a current threat to us domestically only serves to legitimize him in ways he cannot do himself. With every successive message, his impotence is showing.