Why was the killing of Ayman Al-Zawahiri strategically Important for the US?

Subject: Sociology
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 836
Topics: Democracy, Foreign Policy, Government, Islam, Terrorism

What Does It Change for the US Foreign Politics?

The killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri was another win against international terrorism, a scourge that has led to immense suffering and fear worldwide (Gramer & Mackinnon, 2022). America achieved the feat in a rare fashion where the military deployed technology to minimize collateral damage and human resources and save time. The military utilized a drone to take out al-Zawahiri while he was relaxing on the home balcony in Afghanistan. No other deaths were reported after the incident, a rare achievement when a tall figure in one of the world’s most dreaded terrorist organizations was executed (Debusmann, 2022). Al-Zawahiri was the second in command to Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda. In several ways, al-Zawahiri was considered the global leader of the network for more than a decade after bin Laden was also executed in yet another attack by American Special Forces in his compound in rural Pakistan (Hoffmann, 2022). Al-Zawahiri’s execution speaks volumes about America’s position as the leader in the fight against international terrorism. Besides, the occasion indicated the sustained successes the country has developed throughout the decades and the rewards it has achieved from targeted executions. However, the event also indicated America’s willingness to contradict any country’s sovereignty by taking out targets without seeking legal redress like extradition. Thus, the overall benefits outweigh the diplomatic concerns that might have arisen.

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The Enduring Fight Against International Terrorism and the Benefits of Technology

Fighting international terrorism remains a top priority in America’s foreign policy. Al-Zawahiri’s execution happened more than a decade after his senior was executed, making it predictable that America’s government would continue hunting for international terrorists. The United States has retained its pole position as the country that has dedicated its resources and efforts to fighting terrorist organizations. Al-Qaeda is one of the terrorist organizations that had caused immense global fear after the dreaded September 11 attacks and several subsequent attacks in a deliberate fashion worldwide. Al-Zawahiri was the mastermind of various terrorist attacks against America’s infrastructure abroad, especially consulates in east Africa. The execution of Osama bin Laden in 2011 was among the rare feats of the decade as the criminal department extended similar efforts to fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) insurgents and various terrorist organizations. Al-Zawahiri’s execution has highlighted the year 2022 as one of the notable moments when fighting terrorism has taken a notch higher. A drone attack deployed in operation was a significant technology coup that made the attack less conspicuous yet outstanding. America has developed its technology in intelligence gathering and would not waste an instance in showcasing its prowess (Kemp, 2022). Critical issues like surveillance and geography have been overcome. Al-Zawahiri was taken out in his suburban home, which an ordinary assault would have yielded massive losses with an apparent chance to escape. Technology has aided America’s ability to track down criminals and minimize the overall costs of such operations.

An Aggressive Anti-Terrorist Policy Without Bilateral Considerations

America also remains bullish on how much the country can go to hunting down its perceived and actual enemies. Al-Zawahiri was a resident of Afghanistan at the time of his execution, and any process of having him face justice would require several procedures. However, the United States did not care to seek the blessings of the Taliban regime to compel them to extradite their prize (Kugelman, 2022). America’s foreign policy remains oriented toward safeguarding the country’s interests and does not depend on attitudes held by nations and other groups abroad. A bilateral agreement would have necessitated the Afghanistan state to arrest and deport al-Zawahiri and other terrorists in their country.

Besides, al-Zawahiri remained to be Osama’s heir, and any move to have him arrested would have been met by immense resistance by al-Qaeda’s remnants in Afghanistan. The reality that the American administration does not engage rogue states in pursuit of global peace qualifies its actions against al-Zawahiri and other terrorists. The Taliban regime also has a burden of proof to indicate its willingness to root out terrorists thriving within its country’s borders and their affiliations abroad (Kugelman, 2022). However, the United States has demonstrated that its foreign policy does not rest on other secondary parties’ willingness to collaborate.


The war against international terrorism is a long-term commitment to which the United States has committed its efforts entirely. The country’s foreign policy has not changed despite the various regime changes since the earliest interaction with aggressive terrorists. All presidents have committed to protecting American citizens, their property, and the nation’s installations at home and abroad at great lengths. Al-Zawahiri and his terrorist organization are a recent example of this dedication, and his fate should worry other people with similar persuasions. The global threat posed by al-Qaeda and other terrorist units has to be quashed regardless of their geographic location or strength. The emergence of ISIS did not relegate other terrorists to secondary targets since the initial threat is bolstered instead of diminishing. America’s anti-terror foreign policy has ensured the world a safer place by eliminating al-Zawahiri and other terrorists.

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  1. Debusmann J, B. (2022, August 3). Ayman al-Zawahiri: How US strike could kill Al-Qaeda leader – but not his family. BBC News. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-62400923
  2. Gramer, R., & Mackinnon, A. (2022). Al Qaeda Leader, Successor to Bin Laden, Killed in U.S. Drone Strike. Foreign Policy. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/08/01/zawahiri-al-qaeda-leader-successor-killed-drone-strike/.
  3. Hoffmann, B. (2022). What Zawahiri’s Killing Means for al-Qaeda. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/what-zawahiris-killing-means-al-qaeda.
  4. Kemp, R. (2022). The killing of al-Zawahiri is a triumph of US intelligence but a failure of Biden’s foreign policy. The Telegraph. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/08/02/killing-al-zawahiri-triumph-us-intelligence-failure-bidens-foreign/.
  5. Kugelman, M. (2022). Zawahiri’s Killing Is a Blow to the Taliban. Foreign Policy. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/08/04/afghanistan-zawahiri-al-qaeda-taliban/.
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