Whomever is now in control of AQ has taken the predictable next step by suggesting bin Laden really wasn't much of a player anymore--matter of fact Zawahiri's Egyptian clan actually betrayed him (the courier was one of theirs):
Zawahiri's Egyptian ally Saif Al Adel is said to have moved to Pakistan last autumn as Al Qaeda's 'chief of staff' after a period of house arrest in Iran.Zawahiri may not be charismatic but he's one ruthless sucker and has a long history of his own, something the public might not fully understand. Saif al Adel, another Egyptian, is also unknown to the public but not to the counter-terror people, and he's still at large. Not to mention Shukrijumah. So the war is far from over. The administration has made a decent effort to remind folks of this but they need to resist the temptation to recreate Bush's photo-op on the carrier. It was more like a major battle won, say D-Day in the GWoT.
With his return, Al Qaeda's Egyptian faction then hatched a plan to dispose of Saudi-born Bin Laden after irresolvable divisions developed between the terrorist group's top two men.
After D-Day there was the Bulge. Thomas Joscelyn just reported a few weeks ago that the WikiLeaks document dump from Gitmo contained detainee statements about the 2001 anthrax attack, pointing towards this or that jihadi connected with Zawahiri's Vanguards of Conquest anthrax program. Terrorists are known for taking credit where not due, so possibly it was confusion or disinformation. But certainly the USG knows via KSM that the Egyptian branch were the ones pursuing the WMDs, including the man who facilitated the notorious 2000 'terror summit' at Kuala Lumpur, who is now free:
The 9/11 Commission report also details Sufaat's efforts to make weapons for Al Qaeda. The terror group's leaders sought Hambali's help in finding a scientist to "take over" Al Qaeda's biological-weapons program. Hambali introduced Sufaat to Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. In 2001, the report says, Sufaat spent "several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for Al Qaeda in a laboratory" he helped set up near the Kandahar airport in Afghanistan.Wonder if anyone recorded Sufaat's reaction to the bin Laden news?
Zawahiri once penned that AQ needed control of a state at some point. Having control is quite different than being coddled by a state, which has no doubt happened along the way with AQ (as with all proxy terror outfits). He must be salivating over the chance to gain control in Egypt about now, even if he never lives to see it.