Richard Whittall:

The Globalist's Top Ten Books in 2016: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Middle East Eye: "

The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer is one of the weightiest, most revelatory, original and important books written about sport"

“The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer has helped me immensely with great information and perspective.”

Bob Bradley, former US and Egyptian national coach: "James Dorsey’s The Turbulent World of Middle Eastern Soccer (has) become a reference point for those seeking the latest information as well as looking at the broader picture."
Alon Raab in The International Journal of the History of Sport: “Dorsey’s blog is a goldmine of information.”
Play the Game: "Your expertise is clearly superior when it comes to Middle Eastern soccer."
Andrew Das, The New York Times soccer blog Goal: "No one is better at this kind of work than James Dorsey"
David Zirin, Sports Illustrated: "Essential Reading"
Change FIFA: "A fantastic new blog'

Richard Whitall of A More Splendid Life:
"James combines his intimate knowledge of the region with a great passion for soccer"

Christopher Ahl, Play the Game: "An excellent Middle East Football blog"
James Corbett, Inside World Football

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who will become al-Qaida’s next leader?
Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 23:05

Courtesy of MCT

After Osama bin Laden's death, questions rose among experts about who would be the most likely candidate to fill his spot as leader of al-Qaida.

"First and foremost al-Qaida has to choose a new leader; whoever succeeds bin Laden faces a formidable challenge. Filling bin Laden's shoes is by no means easy," James M. Dorsey, a former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and professor at the University of Singapore, said in a May 4 email.

After bin Laden's death, Egyptian Saif al-Adel, who holds a spot on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, became the interim leader of al-Qaida, but Dorsey stressed that his leadership is only temporary.

"He's an obvious choice given his military background. It's too early to judge his longevity. Al-Qaida is focused on more existential issues at this moment," Dorsey said. "Having said that, he's highly respected and viewed as intelligent in addition to being an English speaker."

Peter Mansoor, chair of Military History at OSU, said in a May 5 email that Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, who also holds a spot on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, is without a doubt the candidate to replace bin Laden's leadership in command.

"Making al-Qaida palatable and acceptable to Arabs who have opted in mass demonstrations against violence and jihad involves changes to the group's ideology and strategy that may be beyond what (he) is capable of," Mansoor said.

Dorsey said in an email that al-Zahawiri is not the only candidate capable of filling bin Laden's shoes.

"Al-Zawahiri is the leading contender but there (are) others," Dorsey said. "Bin Laden wanted al-Qaida to become a broad-based (Islamic) movement and to do so, he did not appoint a successor, but furthered the careers of several younger militants."

Dorsey said another candidate to take over the spot of new chief of al-Qaida is Ayman al-Awlaki because large crowds of young Islamic radicals worldwide follow him throughout the "Internet in Europe and the United States."

"Awlaki is a charismatic Yemeni-American Islamic scholar who has been a successful recruiter for al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)," Dorsey said.

Dorsey also named two other potential candidates he thought could be in charge of leading al-Qaida's new operations. The first is temporary leader al-Adel, a member of al-Qaida's military committee, and the second is Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan who gained battle experience with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research for the Foundation Defense of Democracies, said bin Laden's death makes al-Zawahiri the automatic candidate as new leader of al-Qaida.

"With bin Laden's death, al-Zawahiri automatically stepped up the ladder," Schanzer said.

Whether he can run the operations like bin Laden is a completely different story, he said.
Schanzer said unlike al-Zawahiri, al-Alwaki has more prestige among jihadist groups.

"Al-Alwaki is the most enterprising of all the leaders of al-Qaida," Schanzer said. "Al-Zawahiri is part of the old guard, whereas al-Awlaki is part of a new guard or newer generation."

Schanzer said al-Awlaki is known for his involvement in terrorist acts and is wanted by the U.S. authorities for his involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

"He is a prolific person and made a number of attacks to build himself a voice globally," Schanzer said.

Stefano Casertano, professor of international studies at Potsdam University in Germany, said al-Awlaki is very dangerous.

"As a former imam, he is capable of providing the organization with the spiritual leadership that died with bin Laden," Casertano said in a May 9 email. "Nevertheless, it shall still be proven how much (al-Awaki) belongs to the actual organization of al-Qaida."

Casertano said al-Zawahiri has the talents to become a spiritual leader and financial leader as bin Laden once was.

Al-Zawahiri is the logistical planner of al-Qaida, Casertano said, and the urgent issue now is keeping up with the funding.

"The organization does not seem very permeable at allowing new people on the stop spots," Casertano said. "Al-Qaida is not a U.S. corporation, open and meritocratic: it is a conservative and dogmatic gang."

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