Middle East politicians, journalists react to Al-Zawahiri's assassination

Middle East politicians, journalists react to Al-Zawahiri's assassination
3 min read
03 August, 2022
As most Arab governments kept quiet on the Sunday's assassination of Al-Qaeda's leader, many Arab and Middle East focused journalists voiced their thoughts
Al-Zawahiri was killed in his Kabul hideout in a drone strike, according to US officials [Getty]

Notable politicians, analysts and journalists from the Middle East have reacted to the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, amid an absence of statements from most Arab governments.

While Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain all released statements welcoming US President Joe Biden’s announcement that Al-Zawahiri had died in a drone strike in Afghanistan, other states have kept quiet on the matter.

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The militant leader was killed in a missile fired from a drone while he stood on a balcony at his Kabul hideout on Sunday, US officials said.

It is considered to be the biggest blow to Al-Qaeda since Osama bin Laden was shot dead more than a decade ago.

Anwar Gargash, a political advisor to the President of the United Arab Emirates, described Al-Zawahiri’s killing as an opportunity.

"The announcement of the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, coinciding with the anniversary of the [Iraqi] invasion of Kuwait on August 2, is an opportunity for the region to contemplate and reflect on the absurdity of extremism, terrorism, and reckless military adventures and how all of this has torn its fabric," Gargash tweeted.

Saudi writer Fahd Deebaji took a conspiratorial line, saying the US no longer had interests with Al-Zawahiri and decided to get rid of him, adding that Washington has turned the page "to open another page as usual."

Pro-Iranian British-Palestinian editor Abdel Bari Atwan said Al-Zawahiri’s killing meant an end for Al-Qaeda as we know it.

"This assassination will not raise Biden's popularity, because [Al-Zawahiri] was not even relevant," Atwan wrote on Twitter, adding that the militant group’s leadership could possibly go to a young Yemeni man who he believed could be firmer in reorganising Al-Qaeda.

British journalist Mehdi Hassan who focuses largely on Middle East and Asia affairs, said he was totally apathetic to Al-Zawahiri’s killing.

Idrees Ahmad, a journalist and lecturer focused particularly on Syrian affairs, drew attention to the victims of the US-led war on terror as well as Al-Qaeda's victims.

  "Zawahiri brought much grief to Afghanistan and other countries so his death will not be mourned by any. It's worth remembering however that in its pursuit of vengeance, the US killed and maimed many who were themselves victims of terror," he wrote on Twitter.