This article is about Al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahri’s new video, which came out two days ago. In the video, he urged his followers to increase kidnappings of Westerners, promoted his support of the Syrian uprising, and called for the instillation of Sharia Law in Egypt. Al-Zawahri believes that continued kidnappings of foreign nationals will be instrumental in freeing terrorist suspects and criminals in U.S. prisons and combating Western powers in the Middle East. He named one prisoner in particular that he wanted freed, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Known as “the Blind Sheik”, Abdel-Rahman was imprisoned after investigations proved that he assisted in the planning of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

This article displays a political strategy for Al-Qaeda. Essentially, Al-Zawahri wants to severely weaken and completely eradicate Western forces in the Middle East. He wants to impose Sharia Law in Egypt as a means of “cleansing” the constitution and establish a strict Islamic society, devoid of foreign influence. He is also rallying for support of the Syrian conflict because he believes that Western powers are allowing Assad to carry out massive killings. Al-Zawahri’s emphasis on kidnappings as a means of weakening foreign influence, although not new, displays the flexibility and extent of Al-Qaeda’s operations. Finally, this article also shows that Al-Qaeda is becoming more concerned about the disintegration of its membership. Numerous leaders have either been killed by drone strikes or imprisoned by the U.S., greatly crippling the group’s power base. Al-Zawahri’s emphasis on kidnapping foreigners to trade for terrorist prisoners in the U.S. such as Abdel-Rahman is evidence of this concern.

From this article, it could also be deduced that we might see a decline in air terrorism and bomb threats as the emphasis on the kidnappings of foreigners in the region grows.