Al-Qaeda's ranks of public speakers, many from the group's senior leadership, have been decimated. The significant losses have resulted in a shift of who is delivering al-Qaeda's message, the language of that message and its focus. It has also demonstrated al-Qaeda's incredible resilience.
The above word cloud illustrates the number of speakers in audio/video releases from al-Qaeda’s as-Sahab and the volume for each for 2000-2013 as of 8 Jun.. Red lines represent al-Qaeda speakers who have been killed or arrested. Actual losses are greater then shown here as a number of the names not clearly visible have also been eliminated.
Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Yahya al-Libi and Khalid bin Abd al-Rahman al-Husseinan dominated the message for the 14 year period but with only al-Zawahiri left, significant shifts are beginning to occur. The impact of the losses on al-Qaeda are even more considerable when you consider that almost all of the second-tier speakers have either been killed or arrested. The biggest up-and-comers are Ahmad Farouq, Adam Gadahn and Maulana Asam Umar. No other speaker still standing comes close to them.
The growing prominence of Ahmad Farouq and Maulana Asam Umar has shifted al-Qaeda in 2013 for the first time in its messaging history to a predominantly Urdu-language message focused on Pakistan and India. English, once a top language in al-Qaeda releases, has nearly disappeared.
The remainder of 2013 and 2014 will be key periods as al-Qaeda develops a new generation of speakers and crafts its new message. Al-Qaeda's as-Sahab remains one of the most sophisticated jihadi messaging organizations and its messages still stands above many of the other groups. However, the field is now crowded with groups on the verge of eclipsing as-Sahab's prominence. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) al-Malahim has already established itself in 2013 as driving the English-language message, a role once held by as-Sahab.
A total of 591 audio/video releases from al-Qaeda for the period were examined for new appearances of speakers. Media interviews and appearances in videos other than those from al-Qaeda's as-Sahab were not counted. Multiple language releases from al-Qaeda were counted but not those from outside support groups.
This word cloud will be updated as new releases from al-Qaeda’s as-Sahab are added to the IntelCenter Database (ICD) and additional speakers are killed or imprisoned.
Reporting and original source materials for the word clouds are contained in the IntelCenter Database (ICD). For additional details click here. For more information, to schedule an online WebEx demo or to further discuss how its capabilities fit your needs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-719-8750.
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