SANA’A, Ye. – In an exclusive interview appearing in next month’s issue of Inspire Magazine, al Qaeda’s supreme commander, Ayman al-Zawahiri, sits down with Real News Right Now to discuss a variety of topics including his startling decision to leave al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for the Islamic State.
RNRN: First of all, thanks so much for flying us all the way out here to [REDACTED] for this interview. You have a beautiful estate.
al-Zawahiri: [lights cigarette] Thank you.
RNRN: So, getting down to business. Let’s talk about your decision to leave al-Qaeda. When and how did that originate?
al-Zawahiri: The organization suffered a bit after Osama disappeared. We had a brief internal power struggle that didn’t receive much attention in the western media. There were some executions here and there but these things have a funny way of working themselves out.
The whole ordeal left me with a bitter taste in my mouth and I started questioning my role as Emir of al-Qaeda. Can you believe I’ve been doing this for thirty-five years now? Let’s be honest, 9/11 was a huge success but even that took us over twenty years to pull off.
I’ve heard a lot of brothers say, ‘Al-Qaeda is so 2001,’ and I always respond by having their families executed but, you know what? They’re right. Al-Qaeda needs a serious makeover if it’s going to survive twenty-first century jihad.
RNRN: But… you’re not the man to do it?
al-Zawahiri: No. [pauses to light cigarette] I’m a surgeon. Organization isn’t my strong suit; I have people who do that for me. Honestly I always imagined at this point in my life I’d be an imam in some cushy mosque in London, sipping tea and nibbling on biscuits while occasionally selling some teenager on the idea of jihad. Not roasting like a lamb under the light of this [REDACTED] sun.
RNRN: A sensitive issue, no doubt. Let’s move on. Why the Islamic State? Why not form your own al-Qaeda offshoot?
al-Zawahiri: See, it’s not ‘an Islamic state,’ it’s ‘The Islamic State.’ Let’s face it, you can’t compete with these guys. They’ve got high-definition videos featuring young, tanned, and chiseled Arab men riding around in pickup trucks with Kalashnikovs -beheadings and explosions going off left and right. How do you say it in America? ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.’
RNRN: Makes sense.
al-Zawahiri: I used to tell Mohammed Atta, ‘You ought to smile more; you always look like you just came from your mother’s execution.’ Between you and me, his personality, or lack thereof, was key in deciding his role in the plane operation. ‘Just get this guy outta here!’, we said. [chuckles]
RNRN: That’s quite candid of you. Let’s talk about your future role with ISIS. What are your expectations going in?
al-Zawahiri: I have a very particular set of skills. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. [laughing] I’m sorry, I said the exact same thing to al-Baghdadi during our first meeting and he had the same look on his face.
But I digress. [pauses while lighting cigarette] As it happens, I’ll be assuming the duties of a brother who just the other day fell victim to American bombs. This brother was known to the West as ‘Jihadi John.’ And so, due to his untimely passing coupled with my extensive experience as a medical practitioner, I’ve been asked to chair the Islamic State’s prestigious department of interrogation and execution.
As you can imagine, I’m very excited about the opportunity to really put my skills to the test. I was telling my brother the other day -I’m turning sixty-five in a few months, I said, ‘Muhammad, if I haven’t severed the head of at least one American by my birthday, cancel the entire celebration!’ [laughter]
Look for the full interview complete with a five-page photo essay featuring the life and times of Doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri in the December issue of Inspire Magazine, the one and only official publication of the Islamic holy war.