April 21, 2021

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum Presents “Al-Qaeda’s Next Leader?”

On April 21, 2021, our Founder Ali Soufan spoke in the event, “Al-Qaeda’s Next Leader? Ali Soufan in Conversation with Clifford Chanin.” The event was hosted by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Among many topics, Mr. Soufan drew a comparison between ISIS and al-Qaeda, saying that ISIS uses a “Starbucks strategy” from the command structure while al-Qaeda uses a “McDonalds strategy” building alliances. He also commented that “Al-Qaeda is still alive [and] focusing regionally… It suffers big time when it comes to leadership.”

The event was part of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s When the World Changes programming series. Mr. Soufan’s remarks provided an assessment of al-Qaeda’s rising leader Saif al-`Adl and the forthcoming U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. He highlighted the complications likely to arise from the aftermath of the U.S. pullout, commenting that “Al-Qaeda is going to be there and there will be threats,” but that ultimately the U.S. is in a “terrible dilemma.”

View the full program here and his related article in the CTC Sentinel’s February 2021 issue, “Al-Qa`ida’s Soon-To-Be Third Emir? A Profile of Saif al-`Adl.”