The brother of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri has a revolutionary solution to the deadlock between his big brother - who is also Osama Bin Laden’s (OBL's) replacement - and the West. In an interview with CNN, Muhammad al-Zawahiri proposes to broker a 10 year-truce between the West and Islamists. He wants a cessation to drone strikes and hostilities in a kiss-and-make-up peace deal.
The do-gooder bro reckons that if anyone can get through to Al Qaeda’s frontman, it is he the junior sibling. Maybe he has some dirt on Ayman he can use as leverage with the parents.
Why him and why now
Armed with the ear of his most-wanted brother, and the spirit of charity that comes from a sojourn in jail, he wants to exploit his privileged position to help end the violence and believes that both sides must compromise.
Not that the brothers are completely or radically different, big Mo says his kid brother and himself are “ideologically inseparable”. You might find his thinking quite curious not least when you take into account his own less than straight past.
Fourteen years rotting (and mellowing out) in an Egyptian jail, convicted of terrorism and involvement in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981, does not make for a ringing endorsement of the man who plans to talk his brother out of violence as an answer. But time behind bars left him intent on turning to peace. He wants to call off that ancient feud between Muslims and Non-Muslims and void the antognistic binary that has fuelled the War on Terror for over a decade.
Business plan for peace
He says he's offering to be an intermediary between Islamists and the United States and the West. "I don't represent a certain group. My role is a mediator between the West and them."
His qualifications for the role include lending a hand with negotiations in the Sinai where he is intimate with Egyptian government talks with jihadists. Zawahiri apparently has the new Egyptian Islamist power on side.
He knows this benevolent move carries risks of alienating those radical friends he retains.
His six-page proposal offers a 10-year ceasefire if the following conditions are met:
• U.S. and West to stop intervening in Muslim lands • U.S. to stop interfering in Muslim education • U.S. to end the war on Islam • U.S. to release all Islamist prisoners.
In turn, he will also curb Islamist behavior. Islamists must resist the temptation to burn US flags and should:
• Stop attacks on Western and U.S. interests• Protect legitimate Western and U.S. interests in Muslim lands• Stop provoking the U.S. and the West
He lacks something of the credibility one might expect, given his optimistic American can-do attitude. He leaves a whiff of Gaddafi-esque delusions. He says his brother will listen to him, but admits he hasn't talked to him in long over a decade.
Unfortuitously, he claims to have offered OBL a similar proposal in 2004 ahead of the London bombings.
What do you think of the Qaeda camp's 11 year-anniversary surprise peace-plan for the War on Terror? Is the brother of AQ's top dog deadly serious?