The 2011 Arab awakening caught al-Qaeda by surprise and challenged its narrative that peaceful change was not possible in the Arab world. Twitter and Facebook toppled Hosni Mubarak’s pro-Western dictatorship, not terror and jihad. A democratically elected Islamist government took power largely without violence. Even worse, al-Qaeda’s hated rival, the Muslim Brotherhood, which proclaimed that Islam, not jihad, was the answer, ascended to Egypt’s presidency. Mohammed Morsi’s government maintained peace with Israel and ties to America.
Al-Qaeda’s Egyptian leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was almost incoherent initially in lengthy commentaries on the Arab Spring. Zawahiri has always argued that elections and democracy are false paths to real change and Islamic government in the Muslim world. He ridiculed the Brotherhood in an endless series of books and lectures as naïve for abandoning violence for politics. Zawahiri warned that the “deep state” of the army and the mukhabarat (secret police) would never really yield power.
Somewhere in a hideout between Kashmir and Karachi in Pakistan, Zawahiri is now saying: “I told you so!”
In Zawahiri’s view, Egypt’s reigning general, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is just another Anwar Sadat, a traitor to Islam who shall sooner or later be assassinated — and Egyptians should follow the path of Muhammad Atta, the Egyptian who led the 9/11 hijackers, and resort to terror against the near enemy, the Egyptian army, and the far enemy, America, which has armed and trained Egypt’s military since Sadat made peace with Israel in 1979.
[Trump's U.N. General Assembly speech] will reinforce the [North Korean] leadership’s position that the United States is hostile to North Korea. This is exactly what North Korea is talking about, and [Trump] said it right there on TV in front of the whole world.
[President Trump's] trashing of the Iran nuclear deal will raise warning signs for North Korea. This is not going to get them to talk if the U.S. is just going to tear it up...North Korea would likely just wait out Trump since they think in terms of dynasties, and they know that we think in terms of electoral cycles.