Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald reveals some important and little noted information about Ayman Al-Zawahiri:
Al-Zawahiri does not come from the lower depths, and neither “poverty” nor any of those other off-the-shelf pseudo-explanations will do. He comes from the highest stratum of Egyptian Arab society. He was trained as a surgeon. He comes from a long line of physicians, professors, and others who have made their mark. His great-uncle was Azzam Pasha, the first Secretary-General of the Arab League, serving from 1945 to 1952. It was Azzam Pasha who promised, on the eve of the simultaneous attack by five Arab armies intended to snuff out in the cradle the nascent state of Israel, that the world would witness, in his words, “a massacre the likes of which the world had not seen since the days of the Mongols.” That was the promise; that was what the Secretary-General of the Arab League foresaw.
There is a direct link, ideologically, between Azzam Pasha and Al-Zawahiri. The difference is this. When Azzam Pasha was alive, there was no vast oil wealth. There was no huge presence of Muslims who had been allowed to settle behind what they regard as enemy lines, in Western Europe and even in North America. There were not those technological advances, made by the Infidels but exploited by the Muslims, which spread the word of Islam so that the pious yet largely ignorant Muslim would no longer remain so ignorant of its teachings. Those teachings were disseminated through audiocassettes, and then videocassettes, and Internet access, and satellite channels such as Al-Jazeera — all spreading the most venomous Islamic teachings about Infidels and the necessity of Jihad to every village.
No one has seen fit in the Infidel press to note this connection between Azzam Pasha, who participated in the Lesser Jihad against Israel, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, a leading figure in the Greater Jihad against Infidels everywhere. No one has seen fit to remind Infidels that what Azzam Pasha promised in 1948 was not different in the essential message, but only in the size of the intended target.
By the way, having failed to destroy Israel and needing the good will of the Western, Christian world, Azzam Pasha made sure to send Christmas greetings to the world’s Christians in 1951 (this happens to be mentioned by Guillaume at the end of his book “Islam”). And in 1979, another Muslim leader, still establishing himself, also sent Christmas greetings to the world’s Christians — and with the same degree of sincerity that Azzam Pasha had exhibited. The name of that sender of Christmas wishes?
And here, for connoisseurs of Al-Zawahiri, and possibly even for some in the State Department whom, Condoleeza Rice thinks, misinformed her about the chances of Hamas’s success (good god –all she has to do is look at the history of the past 10 years to see what was perfectly predictable, or perhaps to just visit Jihad Watch and its archives once a week — it might do her some good) is more biographical detail about Ayman al-Zawahiri, who like Bin Laden is the scion of a famous, well-off family:
Under ordinary circumstances Ayman Al Zawahri should have figured as yet another doctor in the infinite list of successful medics that characterizes his father’s extended family. If an uncle, Mohammed Al Zawahri features among the country’s top dermatologists, another is ex-dean of Cairo University’s school of medicine. There is also the relation who is senior executive of the Egyptian branch of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Hoechst. And if a half dozen other Zawahris practice medicine at Al Azhar, Islam’s oldest university, mention should also be made of the Zawahri cousins who are surgeons and dentists in the Gulf And let’s not forget the Zawahri medics in the USA, including a dentist, a GP, a consultant and a neurologist.
When he passed away on 9 August 1995, Ayman’s father, Dr Mohammed Rabie Al Zawahri was deputy chair of the department of akakeer — pharmacology at Cairo’s Ein Shams University. Although Ayman’s two brothers are engineers, two out of Ayman’s three sisters are doctors.
Born in June 1951, Ayman grew up in what was then a tiny suburb situated 10 kilometers south of Cairo. Maadi was then a bedroom community known for its cosmopolitan temperament where the babble of a half dozen languages was heard at the local sporting club. Created by the British in 1906, the suburb was something of a United Nations, proud of its multi-ethnic and multi-racial composition.
On the right side of the tracks stood stately homes surrounded by gardens with manicured lawns. It was there that Ayman’s more fortunate Azzam cousins lived after moving to Maadi from Helwan a few years earlier. One of them was “great-uncle” Abdelrahman Hassan Azzam Pasha. Although a late comer to Maadi he chose for his twilight years a lovely colonial villa once occupied by a British general and a French author.
Today the villa is home to his son Engineer Omar Azzam and the pasha’s affluent grandsons, owners of a trendy online publishing house in London.
The Azzam clan originated in the Arabian Peninsula. Like many other nomadic tribes they settled all over the Fertile Crescent (Greater Syria, Palestine and Egypt) some two or three centuries ago.
The Egyptian branch established itself in El-Shoubek Gharbi, Giza where family loyalty and tribal vendettas are still very present. One such vendetta survived several generations of Azzams and was only settled a few years ago.
Claiming ancestry to the Prophet Mohammed, the Egyptian Azzams produced several learned Al Azhar graduates. An excellent example is Ayman’s maternal grandfather, the late Dr Abdel Wahab Mohammed Azzam bey, born in 1893.
Whereas several aspiring Azzams joined the Arab League during their uncle’s heyday, the introduction of a direct family link to the Saudi monarchy enabled several younger Azzams to make it too the oil-rich kingdom. Others found sinecures in Saudi-financed organizations such as the non-interest bearing Faisal Islamic Bank and its regional affiliates. But Ayman Al Zawahri was not one of them. Was he out of the loop by virtue of his zealotry, or was it Ayman who shunned his sheltered’ end more privileged relations?
It was while Faisal Islamic Bank expanded its local operations during President Sadat’s “Open Door” economic policy in the late 1970s, that Ayman Al Zawahri completed his graduate studies in Medicine. Sadat’s Coca-Colaization of Egypt had started and colleges across the nation brimmed with social unrest so that Islam became the countervailing force. This was particularly true of the School of Medicine as opposed to other departments at Cairo University.
From Kuwait, or probably Saudi Arabia, Ayman made it to Pakistan about the time when Afghanistan was shrugging off its Soviet occupiers. It was while practicing medicine in Peshawar that Ayman Al Zawahri met his partner in terror Osama-Bin Laden. We know the rest.
Others within the Azzam family will mention in hushed terms that Ayman was indeed a member of the Jihad. That he had turned “fundie” in his late teens and that his 1984 release from jail was not so much because of the fairness of the judicial authorities, but more likely due to the tribal Azzam network looking after its own. That soon after his release he was squirreled to Saudi Arabia and from there he initiated his apocalyptic mission to “change” the world.
Whether Ayman Al Zawahri left Egypt from the Cairo International Airport or from the backdoor, it is no secret the Azzam clan does not lack men in high places. Unlike the medically-minded Zawahri fraternity, the Azzams include an [indicted] MP, a former governor of Giza and several state counselors and prosecutors. Likewise, the clan is top heavy with senior government administrators and diplomats. Ironically, Egypt’s sitting Supreme State Security Court Chief Justice is himself a relation of Ayman Al Zawahri, his natty Maadi villa guarded round the clock lest he become the next victim of a terrorist attack. Several fatal shootings this last decade cost the lives of several members of the judicial and legislation (including the speaker of parliament) as well as sundry police Officers in Upper Egypt and over 70 tourists in Luxor. [“¦]
Source: Amman The Star in English — Independent pro-establishment weekly newspaper. You can find the article in its entirety, and I recommend reading it all, at http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ayman.htm.
Jihad Watch readers will note that the “Azzams” are declared to be the upright ones. Well, look at what passes for being “upright” by examining the bloodcurdling threats against Israel, and predictions of massacres that would outdo the Mongols, by Azzam Pasha, when he was not a street criminal, but rather was Secretary-General of the Arab League.
That tells us a good deal.