How to get to Jihad?
Well, if you are Ra'id al-Harbi, whose last will and testament was posted to jihadi forums over the weekend, you ride your camel nine hours across the border to Yemen.
That is only one of the many interesting tidbits that I have gleaned so far from the wills of al-Harbi and former Guantanamo Bay detainee Yusif al-Shihri. (Unfortunately, an on-going project means that I can't provide my full take here - but one day, hopefully sooner than later it will be published, and then all of my thoughts will be on the record.)
For the time being let me just say that the fact that there were wills drawn up for al-Shihri and al-Harbi confirms - at least to me - what I have been telling friends for weeks now, and that is that Saudi Arabia averted a big attack when it stumbled on al-Shihri and al-Harbi with a roaming police checkpoint. The two were disguised in women's clothes and only opened fire when a female officer approached them to check their identities.
I wrote a bit about their death here. I argued in a CTC Sentinel piece that came out before they were killed that AQAP was prioritizing attacks in Saudi Arabia. Now, some of the less generous among you could argue that I am massaging the knowns and the unknowns of the situation to fit my analysis, but I still believe - obviously - that I was correct. And I think the fact that they had left their wills with their comrades in Yemen and the fact that they traveled to Saudi Arabia strongly suggests they were in the final stages of planning an attack that the kingdom managed to derail. The third individual they were traveling with was arrested and subsequently gave up a cell in Saudi. Obviously, reasonable people can disagree here given how many unknowns there are, but for me the wills strongly suggest that they were in Saudi Arabia to carry out an attack.
Leaving wills on record, especially ones composed in the style that these two are, is a common mark of suicide bombers. So, in my calculation, score one - even if it was a lucky one - for Saudi Arabia's security services.
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The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
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