Twitter Highlight: Rita Katz on How al-Qaeda Withheld News of its Second in Command's Assassination
Check out SITE Executive Director Rita Katz' latest tweets, which offer exclusive details about how al-Qaeda withheld news about the assassination of one of its top members, Abu Muhammad al-Masri.
1)@NYTimes confirms AbuMuhammad alMasri, #AQ’s 2nd in command, assassinated in Tehran by Israeli agents working w/US.— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) November 14, 2020
But article reports reasons “are still obscure” why AQ didn't yet acknowledge it 3months later.
What wasn’t reported: AQ knew, but intentionally covered it up https://t.co/vqNFATQioq pic.twitter.com/T2PQnDKkzC
2)New: On Oct 19 sources with AQ confirmed: the person killed in #Tehran wasn't a teacher named Habib Dawud(as Iranian media reported),but indeed Masri. A detailed report on the incident made its way to AQ forums but was quickly deleted,as was a Twitter account that promoted it pic.twitter.com/6LWjfRZrnh— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) November 14, 2020
3)AQ operatives may have covered up the news not to forsake what the report called “Iranian hospitality.”— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) November 14, 2020
More pressing was probably the unspoken but known element: in recent years, AQ stopped reporting about its killed/deceased leaders to look less weak on the global stage.
4)Also @NYTimes’s piece reports:“Some terrorism experts suggested that keeping AQ officials in Tehran might provide some insurance” it wouldn’t attack there.— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) November 14, 2020
I disagree. Iran isn’t afraid of AQ. Rather, rather it uses AQ as a tool tactically sowing instability across the region.
5)Regardless, Masri’s death had a major impact on alQaeda, especially given unconfirmed reports that leader Zawahiri died last month. Considering others to have died- Ra’uf, Hamza, Hurras al-Deen officials,etc.—hard to say what recognizable figures AQ has left to replace Zawahiri pic.twitter.com/0LfwShJpGU— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) November 14, 2020
6)If Zawahiri is indeed dead (a very plausible scenario), al-Qaeda will likely not survive. All AQ & AQIS done in recent years is release media as its influence waned. However, its branches— #Shabaab, #AQAP—will continue to be strong, though #AQIM is pretty much dead— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) November 14, 2020