Armed Conflict Foreign Relations & International Law Terrorism & Extremism

Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Jeremy Shapiro
Thursday, July 30, 2015, 4:30 PM

Ayman al-Zawahiri is having a bad day.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Credit: Hamid Mir via Wikimedia Commons

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Ayman al-Zawahiri is having a bad day.

Bad days are not rare for Ayman of late. It sucks to try to follow in Osama Bin Laden’s footsteps. Ayman was always the brains behind operation, so when the Big O finally relocated to the Great Hideout in the sky, it should have been a seamless transition. But now every magazine article in the world feels the need to mention that he lacks Osama’s charisma. Charisma? What is charisma? Nobody ever brought down a skyscraper with charisma.

And everyone has gone gaga about ISIS. It’s as if they invented jihad. Those psychopathic chuckleheads are undoing over a decade of careful public relations, alienating the entire world—and in the process relegating Ayman and the old al-Qaida gang to the status of yesterday’s pariah. Ayman can’t get Charlie Rose’s booker to even return his calls and he knows he’d be lucky to get on Larry King at this point. Meanwhile, that fame whore Baghdadi has done everything but a spread in GQ.

On top of all of this, Allah only knows when Seal Team 6 or some other group of trigger-happy American “heroes” will suddenly drop out of the sky in some high-tech helicopter that can’t be heard or even seen by the naked eye, shoot him (and possibly everyone else in the cave) in the head, and drop his body into the depths of the Indian Ocean where, he is reliably informed, virgin harems are in short supply.

But even by those standards Ayman is having a bad day. Why? Because when he picked up the New York Times from his lawn this morning, he learned that Mullah Omar is dead. Don’t misunderstand Ayman—it’s not that he loved old, sick Omar. That dude was creepy even by Ayman’s standards—crazy tall, one eye that stared at you with the deadness of the Kandahari desert, and all he ever talked about was the glory of the Soviet war and how much he missed the carnage of the battlefield and the homoerotic camaraderie of the mujahedeen. Sure, he could lay down Sharia like nobody’s business, but some bros make even terrorist masterminds uncomfortable.

No, the real reason that Ayman is having a bad day is because the Taliban’s political office has now confirmed that Mullah Omar has been dead for two years.

Two. Allah-forsaken. Years.

That bothers Ayman because he has been messaging with Mullah Omar on WhatsApp for that entire time. So if that putz died two years ago, who the hell has Ayman been plotting to take Jalalabad with? What about all those auto-correct jokes he and Ayman shared about “wasabi-ism”?

Well, it took only three hours of investigation by “Mohammed al-IT guy” (nom de guerre) to determine that “Mujadeadeye001” was actually a 14-year-old Pakistani girl from Birmingham, England. Those donkey-fuckers down in IT are already having a good laugh about it. Whatever. All Ayman knows is that the little takfiri bitch speaks perfect Pashto, knows a lot about Soviet tactics in the 1980s, and had a pretty solid plan for conquering Jalalabad. Oh, man—when Baghdadi finds out about this, Ayman is done.

Crap, maybe Larry King is also dead. How desperate is Lawrence O’Donnell these days?

Yes, Ayman al-Zawahiri is having a bad day.

Jeremy Shapiro is a fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy and the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. He is also the editor of the Foreign Policy program's blog Order from Chaos, a how-to guide for managing the end of the Post-Cold War Era.

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