Wednesday 29 March 2017

Awlaki death robs al-Qa'ida of powerful propaganda tool

Early morning light hits the smoke and wreckage of the World Trade Centre, two days after the Twin Towers were destroyed
Early morning light hits the smoke and wreckage of the World Trade Centre, two days after the Twin Towers were destroyed

Rupert Cornwell in Washington

FROM Hitler to Saddam Hussein, Americans have invariably personalised foreign threats to their country.

And since the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, no individual has embodied the threat of radical Islamic terrorism like Anwar al-Awlaki, killed yesterday, the cleric born and largely educated in the US who rose to become a leading figure in al-Qa'ida's affiliate in Yemen -- now regarded as the group's most dangerous emanation.

With his English-language propaganda skills Awlaki was a talent scout, coach and mouthpiece for the movement, able to attract young Muslim men across the world by his ability to identify with their lives in a way Osama bin Laden and the Arab-raised leadership of al-Qa'ida had struggled to do in recent years.

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