In November 2008, Mr. Zawahiri recognized Yemen-born Nasir al-Wuhayshi (or Nasser al Wahishi) as head of Al Qaeda in the region – a position he held onto when the Yemeni and Saudi branches merged. He reportedly comes from a wealthy family and was once a former personal secretary to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
Robert Worth of The New York Times profiled the group in this feature article, describing Mr. Wuhayshi as a short man with small eyes, "laconic but quick-witted, with flashes of sarcastic humor and a remarkable ability to adduce Koranic verses to back up anything he said."
According to Foreign Policy, "Wuhayshi has proven to be both a skilled politician and an innovative, often brutal, adversary." The Boston Globe's Gregory D. Johnsen in 2007 described him as emblematic of Al Qaeda's "younger, more radicalized members."