Bin Laden Successor? Awlaki 'Most Effective' Jihadist

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With Osama bin Laden dead, many are speculating on who will replace him as the leader of al Qaeda. Some say it could be the American-born terrorist, Anwar al Awlaki.

Al Awlaki, who heads an al Qaeda cell on the Arabian Peninsula, has been tied to several terror plots against the U.S.
Such plots included the Fort Hood massacre carried out by Nidal Hassan and the Nigerian man who tried to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009
Al Awlaki also reportedly inspired the man who tried to set off a bomb in New York City's Times Square.
CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck said al Awlaki's Western background makes him quite effective in terrorism.

"I would argue he's the most influential jihadist in the world," Stakelbeck said. "He's fluent in English. He knows the American culture. He knows the West, knows the language, knows the culture."

"That language barrier can't be overestimated," he noted. "Ayman Al Zawahiri, other al Qaeda kingpins don't speak English."

"But you have a guy like al Awlaki who is fluent in our language, can connect directly to young Muslims right in this country  -- and in Europe and that makes him very, very dangerous," Stakelbeck said.

Meanwhile, Yemen's president has been working with the U.S to root out al Awlaki's network. But recent protests in Yemen have threatened the government's stability there.

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