The PJ Tatler

Did Zawahiri betray bin Laden?

True or not, this seems like a useful suspicion to have floating around out there.

Egyptian Ayman Al Zawahiri, who has been touted widely as the man who will succeed Bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda, turned his back on his terrorist leader following a prolonged power struggle, according to a Saudi newspaper.

The plot to get rid of Bin Laden began when Zawahiri’s faction persuaded bin Laden to leave the protection of the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

nstead, they convinced him to set up home in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by U.S. Navy SEALS earlier this week, a regional source told the Al-Watan newspaper.

Zawahiri’s Egyptian ally Saif Al Adel is said to have moved to Pakistan last autumn as Al Qaeda’s ‘chief of staff’ after a period of house arrest in Iran.

With his return, Al Qaeda’s Egyptian faction then hatched a plan to dispose of Saudi-born Bin Laden after irresolvable divisions developed between the terrorist group’s top two men. …

The courier who led U.S. forces to Bin Laden was a Pakistani national working for Zawahiri, according to the source.

The man is said to have known he was being followed by American troops and to have intentionally led them to their target.

The upside here would be the obvious: If a terrorist can’t trust his right-hand man, who can he trust? Is there no honor among cold blooded murderers anymore?

The downside is a bit more subtle, but goes like this. Zawahiri got his terror start with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That group is poised to win at least a slice of power in Egypt’s elections this fall. It’s possible then that Zawahiri’s al Qaeda gets a phantom seat at the table in Cairo, that bin Laden’s al Qaeda might not have had.