Within hours of the Al Qaeda's announcement appointing Ayman al-Zawahiri as Osama Bin Laden's successor, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted that the terror network's new chief is no match for his predecessor.
US senior administration official said that Zawahiri neither has the charisma nor has the credentials to match the slain leader's status. The bottom line is that Zawahiri has nowhere near the credentials that Osama bin Laden had, Gates said at a Pentagon press conference.
Gates remarked that Al-Zawahiri has not demonstrated strong leadership or organizational skills during his time in al Qaeda or previously in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and that his ascension to the top spot will likely generate criticism if not alienation and dissension with al-Qaeda. He added that it was unlikely that Zawahiri would enjoy the position bin Laden had in the extremist network, given the baggage al-Zawahiri was carrying.
The Defense Secretary is reported to have said that Zawahiri is more of an armchair general with a soft image and has not had actual combat experience.
No matter who is in charge, he will have a difficult time leading al-Qaeda while focusing on his own survival as the group continues to hemorrhage key members responsible for planning and training operatives for terrorist attacks, the official said.