A U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul over the weekend.
A U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul over the weekend, President Joe Biden announced Monday.
- U.S. intelligence built a model safe house, constructed “a pattern of life” for their target, and took out Zawahiri while he was sitting on his home’s balcony.
- Zawahiri was likely killed with an R9X modified Hellfire missile – nicknamed the “flying Ginsu” – that uses six blades to kill its target instead of an explosion to minimize civilian casualties.
- President Biden said, “We make it clear again tonight: That no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”
- The CIA drone strike on Zawahiri is the first known demonstration of the “over-the-horizon” anti-terrorism strategy outlined by President Biden amid last year’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the Taliban for “grossly” violating the Doha Agreement by sheltering Zawahiri in Kabul.
- Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s longtime deputy, took over al-Qaeda after Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in May 2011.
- The 71-year-old Zawahiri had a $25 million bounty on his head and hid for years in the Afghan mountains before spending his final months in a posh Kabul neighborhood.
- The New York Times noted that while al-Qaeda has now lost eight of its top leaders in the past few years, the organization now “has more total fighters than it did on September 11, 2001.”
- The Washington Post covered how the CIA tracked down Zawahiri and took advantage of his love for his balcony to take out the terrorist leader.
- CNN assessed Zawahiri’s possible successors. One possible successor, Said a-Adel, is one of the last members of al-Qaeda’s “founding generation” and lives in Iran. Other contenders could emerge from al-Qaeda’s African affiliates.
- While the strike on Zawahiri was successful, the Wall Street Journal wrote the strike “leaves unanswered the question of whether Washington can remotely thwart plots in Afghanistan before they become a threat.”
- National Review hailed the killing, writing Zawahiri “deserves to rot” and praised the president, military, and intelligence services for taking out one of the chief orchestrators of the 9/11 attacks.
- FOX News interviewed 9/11 families for their reactions to Zawahiri’s death. Brad Blakeman, whose first responder nephew was killed on 9/11, said, “It was a long day in coming. It should have been done a long time ago if we had had the opportunity.”
On Your Radar
As Pelosi Leaves Taiwan, China’s Military Looms Larger (Wall Street Journal)
Roe jolts the midterms — 5 takeaways from a key primary night (POLITICO)
Arizona Republican gubernatorial primary too close to call between Lake, Taylor Robson (FOX News)
Rep. Peter Meijer becomes second House Republican who voted for Trump impeachment to lose primary (CNN)
The Pro-Life Defeat in Kansas (National Review)
Bruce Springsteen fans face $5,000 tickets — and a ‘crisis of faith’ (Washington Post)
These Harm-Reduction Facilities Are Slated for Biden Administration Grants. They’re Also Distributing Crack Pipes. (Free Beacon)
In Visiting Taiwan, Pelosi Capped Three Decades of Challenging China (New York Times)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney joins ranks of Democrats skeptical of Biden’s reelection (Washington Examiner)
Jon Stewart’s vicious smear (Commentary)
© Dominic Moore, 2022