June 16th, 2011
10:25 AM ET

Nic Robertson: Natural step for al-Zawahiri

It's no surprise jihadist websites announced Ayman al-Zawahiri will take over leadership of al Qaeda, says CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson. Al-Zawahiri has been a deputy of Osama bin Laden since al Qaeda was formed and it's a natural step for him.

What is slightly surprising is that it's taken so long to make the announcement. That may indicate divisions or dissent within al Qaeda.

What's next from al Qaeda? "We can expect a similar agenda from al Qaeda in the future but we can also expect al-Zawahiri to push to take advantage of the unrest in the Middle East that seeks to do what he's always wanted to do, which is, as he says, overthrow the dictators in the Middle East," Robertson says. "The move for democracy in the Middle East potentially undermines al Qaeda so he will want to claim some of that ground back."

Watch the full report from CNN's Nic Robertson above.

Filed under: Al Qaeda • Al-Zawahiri • Terrorism
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