7,546. 5/21/2010

"The death of al-Qaeda's third-ranking leader [Mustafa Abu al-Yazid] in a drone strike [on May 21, 2010] was portrayed by U.S. officials Tuesday [June 1, 2010] as a severe setback to the terrorist organization. But if history is any guide, the network will have no problem replacing him. On at least 10 occasions in the past decade, al-Qaeda has sustained the loss of a senior operative described at some point as the No. 3 figure in its hierarchy. Each time, the group has moved quickly to appoint a successor, demonstrating a resilience that has enabled it to survive a dozen years of open warfare with the United States and defy repeated predictions of its demise."

 – Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller, “Al-Qaeda is Likely to Replace No. 3 leader with Ease,” The Washington Post, June 2, 2010,

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