It is unsettling to see a democratic government like the United States beating its chest over the high-tech murder of a retired jihadist, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The 71-year-old al-Zawahiri succeeded the assassinated Osama bin Laden as chief of the anti-US underground group, al-Qaeda. The mild-mannered, Egyptian had been a local doctor in Cairo, when the brutal secret police of US-backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, arrested him. Though al-Zawahiri was not directly involved in the opposition, he was savagely tortured by Mubarakâ€™s secret police, who were directly advised and financially assisted by US security experts and intelligence.
I never met Dr. al-Zawahiri, but I spent long hours with his teacher and mentor, Sheik Abdullah Azzam â€“ who was also bin Ladenâ€™s spiritual guide and instructor. Call him the father of jihad.
After torture and jail, Dr. al-Zawahiri became radicalized, joining Osama bin Ladenâ€™s underground movement that was dedicated to ousting American influence from the Muslim world. Al-Zawahiri later joined bin Laden in Afghanistan, a free-fire zone for Islamic jihadists. According to Washington, any groups opposing US presence in the Mideast were without doubt `terrorists.â€™ Israel developed this terminology to discredit all Palestinian resistance groups.
The US claims Osama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri were the architects of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. But bin Laden and al-Zawahiri denied being involved though they applauded the bloody attacks. Bin Laden stated the attack on New York was payback for Israelâ€™s destruction of PLO-occupied West Beirut in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon.