Muhammed Ibrahim Makaawi (aka Saiful-Adl Al-Misri) was an Egyptian security general prior to joining the ranks of Al-Qaeda. Held in high esteem for his distinctive leadership in the Al-Qaeda, he was responsible for the organization’s military operations and oversaw Al-Qaeda training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan in the 1990’s.
On 17/5/2011, Makaawi was appointed as a temporary replacement leader for Al-Qaeda following the death of Osama Bin Laden, who Washington reports was killed in attack on his residence in Pakistan on the 2/5/2011. This was before Ayman Al-Zawahiri was named Al-Qaeda’s official leader.
After his training in the Egyptian army Makaawi became active in the Egyptian Jamaah Al-Jihad Al-Islami. In 1987 he was accused of attempting to overthrow the Egyptian government.
He left his native Egypt for Afghanistan in the 80’s to join the ranks of the Afghan Mujahideen who fought against the Soviet Union.
After becoming a high ranking member in the organisation he became responsible for armed operations – the equivalent to the chief of staff – following the death of Muhammed Atif. In addition to this he occupied a position as a member of the consultation board and military committee for the establishment.
Makaawi is believed to have trained the Somali tribes which opposed the United Nation troops. The Somalis who trained under him are believed to have fought in the first battle in Mogadishu. He established the first Al-Qaeda training camp in Ras Kamboni, on the Somali-Kenyan border.
Saiful-Adl participated in the explosions which took place at the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam in 1998. He is also indicted of being the brains behind the suicide attacks which killed 35 people – including 8 Americans – on 12/5/2003 in Riyadh.
Although Makaawi’s whereabouts are currently unknown, it is assumed that he fled to Iran after the American war on Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks. He is believed to have been on house arrest in Iran and to have returned to his former location on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan after 9 years there.
The United States offered a reward of up to 5 million dollars to anyone offering information leading to his arrest. His name remains on the official F.B.I list as one of the most wanted terrorists.
It is mentioned that he completely condemned all previous acts of terrorism – including the attacks of September 11th – with the aim of rectifying past affairs, extracting lessons from it and planning for the future.
He wrote several articles after the September 11th attacks in which he criticises the leader of Al-Qaeda’s strategy. These include: “The Islamic View on Security and Intelligence,” “Communication Safety,” “The Convoy of Women Martyrs in Kandahar,” “My Time with Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi,” and “American Commando Operations in Afghanistan.” He stated in one of these articles – dated June 2002 – that “We must stop performing Kharijite actions and take a look at the disaster we have caused.”
• Who is Saiful-Adl Al-Misri? (alazeera.net, 19/05/2011)
• Who is Saiful-Adl, the temporary leader of Al-Qaeda? (France 24, 19/05/2011)
• Asharq Alawsat Newspaper ( 18/5/2011 – 5/8/2011)
• A Glimpse at Saiful-Adl, the new leader of Al-Qaeda (BBC 18/5/2011)
• Excerpts from news sources.