Fact from Fiction: al-Qaeda Members (Updated)
Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.
(CNN) -- A man described as "one of al Qaeda's most dangerous members" was arrested in Yemen, the Yemeni military, an embassy official and state-run news agency Saba said.
Mohammed Abdu Saleh al-Haudali, 35, is "one of the most dangerous terrorists wanted by the security forces," according to a Yemeni military Web site, citing a security source.
Waq al-waq wrote a bit about this individual- and I can tell you that I have strong doubts that he is "one of al-Qaeda's most dangerous members." I do not know every member of AQAP, but I like to think that I have a fairly good grasp of the individuals, and his name is nowhere near the top of my list or the Yemeni government's list. He is "dangerous" because he was caught.
Next from the CNN piece is this news on the arrest of another individual:
"Mohammed Ali Al-Henk, "a wanted al Qaeda operative," was captured in the Arhab district north of Sanaa."
This is the man that was featured in the News Yemen piece I linked to here (transliterations can be a bit difficult - also the definite article only seems to appear in CNN's English and not in the original Arabic).
Haniq is the brother of a member of parliament and a prominent shaykh. Ok, he fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but so did a number of Yemenis and if the US and Yemeni governments want to fight them all then they are positioning themselves for a war they can never win. Does al-Haniq still sympathize with the goals espoused by AQAP? Maybe, maybe not.
But he certainly does not appear to be an overly active member, if he is even a member. Concentrating on targeting the right people is not only a good place to start but it is also essential to success in Yemen.
Finally, we have this interesting piece from 26th of September, the military's mouthpiece in Yemen, suggesting that shaykhs in Marib are asking AQAP fighters, which are really headquartered there to leave, particularly in the 'Abidah tribal region. And that the shaykhs are asking their young men affiliated with AQAP not to provide refuge to al-Qaeda fighters.
More wishful thinking or the result of a deal is difficult to say at this point.
Update: Oh, and this is also Waq al-waq's 500th post. Congratulations - I guess? - to us.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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