Al Qaeda: Who's left?
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
June 6th, 2012
09:36 AM ET

Al Qaeda: Who's left?

Editor's note: Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, is the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden, From 9/11 to Abbottabad."

By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst

The news that Abu Yahya al-Libi, the No.2 leader of al Qaeda, is now confirmed to have been killedin a CIA drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region along the border with Afghanistan further underlines that the terrorist group that launched the 9/11 attacks is now more or less out of business.

Under President Barack Obama, CIA drone strikes have killed 15 of the most important players in al Qaeda, according to a count maintained by the New America Foundation (a nonpartisan think tank where I am a director).

Similarly, President George W. Bush also authorized drone strikes that killed 16 important al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan while he was in office.

As a result, according to senior U.S. counterterrorism officials, there now remains only one leader of any consequence in al Qaeda and that is Ayman al-Zawahiri, the tetchy Egyptian surgeon who became the head of the group following the death of its founder, Osama bin Laden, in a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan in May 2011.

Read more from Peter Bergen on Zawahiri's almost impossible task

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Anti terrorist

    Al Qaida is secret force of the USA . They provide everything that the USA needs to attack Muslim . War on terror is nothing but a drama . The USA foreign policy will be focused on Asia pacific . It is why All Qaida is now week . Al Qaida helped the USA in Iraq . Without Al Qaida , it was impossible to keep troops there . Now Al Qaida is helping the USA in Syria too . In history such disguised group is existed . Nothing new .

    June 6, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • axby

      I can completely understand your sense of loss and grief since you may have lost your terrorist friends and heroes to the infidel drones. If you are looking for sympathy to your Islamic cause, you will not get it here. If it makes you feel any better, please know that your friends and heroes are in a much worse place than they were before.

      June 6, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • Patrick-2

      Actually the so-called "war on terrorism" is a war for Western expansion into Central Asia and the Middle East in order to gain control of their natural resources whether it be oil or underground minerals. It began under George H.W. Bush some 20 years ago with the First Gulf War in 1991.

      June 6, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
      • axby

        The War on Terror was to neutralize Al Qaeda. Most senior Al-Qaeda are dead now except Zawahiri. That makes you extremely sad which is understandable. With Al Qaeda humiliated and defeated, the US and NATO are pulling out in 2014. You do not seem to be aware of that. The US/West do not want to expand because the West is already occupying your country. Expansion would mean that the West wants to take over more than Afghanistan and Pakistan which it already owns and can freely do whatever it wants there.

        June 6, 2012 at 11:02 am |
      • Patrick-2

        Wrong, axby. The U.S. has every intention of staying in Afghanistan long after 2014 as they will continue to train and command Afghan security forces there as U.S. and other Western companies exploit Afghan natural resources. In fact, both Iraq and Libya are already U.S. satellite states like those in Eastern Europe were to the Russians right after WW2!

        June 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  2. krm1007 ©™

    The Hindu Dharam Sena in India has become especially terrifying for Christians in Jabalpur. Between 2006 and 2008, Jabalpur was plagued by at least three anti-Christian attacks every month, according to The Caravan magazine. In the western state of Gujarat and other parts of the country, the Rashtriya Jagran Manch has also violently attacked Christians, according to news website Counter Currents

    June 6, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
  3. Hahahahahahhahaha

    Look at the picture. Someone pull that Towel Heads finger already!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahaha

    June 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Despite the deaths of a number of high-profile members, the al Qaeda has not yet been eradicated. There are still a dozen of members who have lived in the U.S. and are educated.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  5. great, but a foreign policy this does not make

    obama's foreign policy is a disaster.

    russia reset? laughable
    muslim outreach? was laughable since day 1
    syria? disgraceful
    libya? US embassy was just attacked and radical extremists are in control
    ME peace process? obama used israel to attempt to placate the muslim street. disgraceful
    china? laughing at obama and NOT helping on Iran
    pakistan? relations at all time low

    need I go on? I can....

    in short- obama's FP is totally pathetic, but the mainstream large network media will tell you otherwise...its amazing the lengths they will go to in order to sacrifice their journalistic ethics and integrity to support obama.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  6. joe anon 1

    how bout an analysis from someone who is not a govt or zionist mouthpiece.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.