Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of Ayman, the al-Qaeda leader, has publicly announced through CNN his plan for peace between jihadists and the West. Staging his presentation on 9/11/2012, he reveals what’s been on his mind during his years in prison, what he’s been pondering for five years of solitary confinement: he wants to end the fight.
He spent 14 years in an Egyptian prison for terrorism and involvement in the 1981 assassination to President Anwar Sadat — though he denies the charges.
Though ten years out of touch with his brother, he thinks his brother will listen to him; he wants to act as an intermediary between Islamists and the West: “I don’t represent a certain group. My role is a mediator between West and them.” Putting himself in such a role does make him a target for radical Islamists, but he claims to be driven by noble reasons, and not for personal gain.
The ten-year truce he is proposing expects the U.S. to stop invading Muslim lands, stop interfering in Muslim education, stop the end of the war on Islam, and to release all Islamist prisoners — a tall order, and in return the Islamists would cease attacking Western and U.S. interests, protect their interests in Muslim land, and cease terrorizing the West.
The terms are unacceptably high and ambiguous as well: what does it mean to “stop interfering with Muslim education”?
“This is a very tough mission. You have to be logical. If you want to live in peace, then you must make others feel that they will live in peace,” he stated.
“We want to turn this page and forget the past.”
Now that Al Qaeda has been beat down, the U.S. has even less reason to meet their terms. What this peace plan will ultimately mean remains to be seen.