Syria Islamist Eclipsing Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri as Jihadi Leader (AFP)
(dailyalert.org, Jun.5, 2014)
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), appears to be surpassing al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri as the world’s most influential jihadist.
“For the last 10 years or more, (Zawahiri) has been holed up in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and hasn’t really done very much more than issue a few statements and videos,” said Richard Barrett, a former counter-terrorism chief at MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence service.
“Whereas Baghdadi has done an amazing amount – he has captured cities, he has mobilized huge amounts of people, he is killing ruthlessly throughout Iraq and Syria.”
King’s College London Professor Peter Neumann estimates that 80% of the 3,000 Western fighters in Syria have joined the ISIL.