It is important to stay informed as to who the bad guys actually are during our time of war. It can be a little difficult for your everyday person to really ascertain who the individuals are as they keep getting themselves killed!

Sure we can use the blanket term “al-Qaeda” as we always have, but it doesn’t hold the same meaning as it did in the years following the 9/11 attacks. The organization is a smoldering shell of what it once was and many of the household names we familiarize with have been intricately introduced to the CIA’s incredibly successful drone program.

In this three-part series, I’m going to give you an insight glimpse of the three main al-Qaeda organizations: the original al-Qaeda group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and the emerging underdogs al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

To all members of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and al-Shabaab who feel left out or underrepresented; you guys are just too weak sauce for me to bother with.

al-Qaeda, the Head Office (centered in and around Pakistan)

Getting to Know Al-Qaeda Part 1: The Head Office

This is the core organization that bin Laden created back in the late 80’s, an organization that is in shambles as UBL and most of his senior commanders have been systematically wiped off the face of the Earth at the hands of the CIA and JSOC. The current leader of al-Qaeda is the long-time serving second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was put in charge of AQ shortly after bin Laden’s demise in Abbottabad in May of 2011.

I created this diagram back in October of 2011 as a reference to who is left in-charge of the core AQ organization:

al-Qaeda in 2011