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Drone Strikes Launched After AQAP Shows They’re Not on the Run

A mission to save face after new al-Qaeda No. 2's in-your-face PR effort -- featuring a former Gitmo detainee?

Bridget Johnson


April 21, 2014 - 6:30 pm
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. and Yemen launched drone strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula targets in the wake of a bold video released by the terror group showing a confab of terrorists, including al-Qaeda No. 2 Nasir al-Wuhayshi, essentially mocking the west with a meeting in the wide open.

The counter raid that began after the video hit the headlines, though, couldn’t exactly catch the big-name jihadists on their way home — the meeting in the footage occurred sometime in mid-February through the end of March, according to analysts.

The strikes, then, were as much about saving face as trying to catch up to the intelligence revealed in the video, which featured a former Guantanamo detainee and was followed by another threatening release from al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Yemen’s Saba news agency reported Monday that an airstrike “killed a number of militants” of varying nationalities at al-Qaeda training camps in a remote mountainous region between Abyan and Shabwa province. Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee said strikes were launched on Saturday and Sunday based on “certain intelligence information that terrorist elements were training in those camps and planning to target vital civilian and military facilities.”

The Yemeni government said the Saturday strike targeted a truck carrying 11 al-Qaeda terrorists to al-Bayda city, where they planned to target “vital military and civil sites.” Ten of those on board were reportedly killed. Unfortunately, a pickup drove too close to the targeted vehicle, and three civilians within were killed in the strike.

Yemeni officials initially speculated that bomb-maker Ibrahim Asiri may have been killed in the strikes, but withdrew those claims as the day wore on.

“We’re aware of the reports and I’d point you to the Yemeni government and what the government itself has said. In statements to the press, the Yemeni government has confirmed that airstrikes were carried out this weekend against al-Qaeda militants in remote training camps and in a convoy. According to the Yemenis, these individuals were planning to target civilian and military facilities in al-Bayda and elsewhere,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at today’s briefing.

“Now, I can’t speak to specific operations, but we have a strong, collaborative relationship, as you know, with the Yemeni government and work together on various initiatives to counter the shared threat we face from AQAP,” he added. “So in terms of more details about the strikes that the Yemeni government has discussed, I would refer you to the Yemeni government.”

That likely would have been a victory lap if a big-name target had been confirmed killed. Carney was then asked if AQAP’s growth and threat meant President Obama felt differently about his promise to scale back drone strikes.

“We have a strong collaborative relationship with the Yemeni government and work together on various initiatives to counter the shared threat we face from AQAP. We support the Yemeni government’s efforts to tackle terrorism within their own borders; and beyond that, for details of these reported incidents, I would refer you to the Yemeni government,” Carney replied.

“Again, without speaking about specific operations, I can tell you that in May 2013, President Obama spoke at length about the policy and legal rationale for how the United States takes direct action against al-Qaeda and its associated forces outside of areas of active hostilities, including with drone strikes. And as the president made clear, we take extraordinary care to make sure that our counterterrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable domestic and international laws, and that they are consistent with U.S. values and policy.”

Over at the State Department, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if it was a coincidence that the AQAP video became the top story on the news and airstrikes then followed.

“I would put a call in to the Yemeni government and see if they have more details to share with you,” she replied, hastily wrapping up the briefing.

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All Comments   (4)
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No Ms Johnson, you are wrong. The administration "announced" they had launched drone strikes against AQAP. Big difference from actually doing.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I spent some time researching the problem of the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda, as well as their state sponsors. It breaks down like this:
1) Heart: Turkey, the site of the last Caliphate. Ruled by Muslim Brotherhod Recep Erdogan. Member of NATO. Anti-Assad/pro-Jihad.
2) Brain: Qatar, the hedge fund and broadcaster (al Jazeera). The suave moderninsts who are openly Brotherhood, and crypto Nazis (cf Amin al Husseini).
3) Body: Pakistan, the mercenaries. The ISI in particular, and their de facto boss, Dawood Ibrahim (who is also at least half the Brain). Nuclear weapons and political assassinations.

A report on the topic is linked here.

It is up to you to decide how much of this is Islam/sharia, and how much of it is organized crime. They overlap and intersect, and both provide motives depending on the individual/state in question.

P.S., al Qaeda: This is the stateless army, the militants of the jihad. Call them Hamas, AQ, Boko Haram, ISIS, whatever. All the same concept, all working under the aegis of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the Ikhwan, after all, who are the actual enemies.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Target-rich environment.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The big fish hold a selfie festival and Obama goes guppie fishing.

No high value targets, unless you count innocent civilians ...always a favorite target of the lawless cabal. Wag the dog...before you sauté it in a beure blanc sauce.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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