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Al-Qahtani in Sada al-Malahim

Nayf Muhammad al-Qahtani’s article in Sada al-Malahim on Saudi’s most wanted list of 85 suspects gives some good background information on a handful of current leaders, particularly al-Wahayshi, Qasim al-Raymi and Said al-Shihri. (I’m not going to do a full analysis here, as I am writing an article that will utilize portions and I can’t give it all away.)

Al-Qahtani is at pains to give the religious credentials of the three, which is interesting that he feels the need to give their background, even telling when al-Raymi graduated from one of Yemen’s religious institutes (1997/98). He also explains that al-Raymi met with bin Laden, which I continue to think is important for AQAP, as commanders in the organization appear to use personal links to jihadi leaders to burnish their own credentials.

I also thought it was interesting that while he mentions that both al-Raymi and al-Shihri have memorized the Qur’an he is silent on al-Wahayshi’s memorization skills. I wouldn’t read too much into this, but I think it is a bit strange since everyone else he mentions is a hafiz.

Al-Qahtani also points out that Badah al-Qahtani (number 14 on this list of the 85 wanted suspects) was killed by US forces in Iraq.

In addition to some background details, there were a couple of larger points I was struck by. First, how skillfully he uses allegations of US soldiers raping Muslim women at Abu Ghrayb as propaganda in the article – it is quite powerful. And, second, his point towards the end of the article about why Saudi Arabia is even concerned with these 85 individuals if they believed them to all be out of the country. This, I think, is important because it goes against recent history. It also, I think, illustrates the dangers of the old deals that allow young men to go off and fight in foreign wars as long as they don’t bring their experience home – as numerous governments are realizing this is an almost impossible deal to pull off. Ignoring fighting abroad in the hopes that one won’t have to fight at home is not a strategy that will win any wars.

Also:Laurent responds with some very good points to my comments on his article.


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