Death of an ideologue

The Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki

The
killing September 30 in Yemen of the militant American-Yemeni preacher Anwar
al-Awlaki, arguably the most recognizable transnational jihadi figure
beside Osama bin Laden, deprives the transnational Sunni jihadi movement
represented by Al-Qaeda Central (AQC) of its premier ambassador to English
speaking and reading audiences around the world. His killing also cuts short his further
ascendance as one of the most promising members of Al-Qaeda’s missionary
vanguard of charismatic ideologues who harness their rhetorical flare and
varying degrees of scholarly bona fides to further the goals of AQC and its
sister groups. Using his gifts as a
rhetorician, al-Awlaki fulfilled a key communicative role between Al-Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which confirmed his death in a statement issued
October 10, and the broader AQ movement and potential supporters. Al-Awlaki maneuvered himself into the position
of being one of the transnationa