He wasnt really eaten by wolves. But that SNL skit is brilliant.
Anyway, it’s a big hit for us in the ongoing campaign to decimate AQ’s senior leadership. Absolutely. No question.
But all the media and CT analyst attention that I’ve seen on the issue has focused on the structural damage that his death has caused to AQ.
“Rahman has been at the nerve center of al Qaeda’s global terrorist operations,” Noman Benotman, a former Libyan jihadist acquainted with Rahman, bin Laden and other top al Qaeda leaders, told CNN in an interview earlier this week. “He has become their CEO, the only person that al Qaeda cannot afford to lose.”
Says Steve Hayes at the Standard, “If Atiyah Rahman is indeed dead, as it appears, [it's] hard to overstate how significant a blow that is for AQ. And win for us.”
“Rahman was bin Laden’s channel to the world.” (David Ignatius in the WaPo)
“Atiyah was at the top of Al Qaeda’s trusted core,” the American official said. “His combination of background, experience and abilities are unique in Al Qaeda — without question, they will not be easily replaced.”
Ok, this is helpful, but distorts Atiya as a purely administrative wonk, a senior veteran bureaucrat. He may have kept the trains on time, but there’s a lot more to the Atiya story than has been adequately explained. Most notably for me is that he played an important role in mitigating the more rabid end of the AQ spectrum. His time in Algeria during the 90′s left an indelible mark on him and his anxiety over perceptions of Muslim-on-Muslim violence when AQ targeted in the Middle East. For him, it was always preferred to strike West.
A hard look at his last couple years of writings and statements shows that he was not in lock-step with his partner in crime, Abu Yahya al-Libi, who is in favor of really sticking it to the man on the homefront. With Atiya now gone, I say that AQ can take off the gloves easier back home.