I’ve been away from the internet for most of the weekend, but I returned today to find that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has posted a statement taking responsibility for the assassination attempt on Muhammad bin Nayif. (Thanks to all the readers who e-mailed me links.)
Thomas Hegghammer over at Jihadica has a couple of excellent posts on the statement as well as some background about Muhammad, why I’m not seeing Thomas quoted in some of the stories on this attack is beyond me. Come on reporters, you guys can do better than this.
I did see this interesting explanation in an AFP report for SITE’s early call on the statement:
“In a statement posted on an Islamist website late on Thursday, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said it was behind the attack, according to US-based SITE Intelligence monitoring group.
But AQAP, which said in the statement that Prince Mohammed was killed in the attack, did not provide further details at the time, and withdrew the statement later in the day, SITE said.”
I don’t know much about SITE so I will (largely) refrain from commenting, but I got a call on Thursday fairly soon after the attempt took place and I was on the forums most of the evening and late into the night and I didn’t see any statement, so I’m curious as to what SITE believed they saw. Strange.
As for the attacker himself, ‘Abdullah al-‘Asiri, he was on Saudi’s list of 85 published early this year (#40 on this list). The statement is fairly short, but packed with interesting details. Like Thomas, I am interested to hear more about the “networks of spies” uncovered by AQAP.
To me, this attack is, like I have been saying recently, an attempt by AQAP to square its actions with its rhetoric and to demonstrate that it has the regional reach it claims to have.
Update: I mistakenly added the definite article to ‘Asiri – my mistake.