Tag Archives: al-Qaeda

Drone strike kills leading al-Qaeda figure in Yemen

Fahd al-Quso, a leading figure in al-Qaeda in Yemen, was killed by a CIA drone strike according to US officials. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 for his suspected role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 US sailors and injured 39 others in the port of Aden in Yemen. He was being held in a Yemeni prison but escaped. He was captured again but only served 3 years and could not be extradited to the US for lack of extradition treaty.

CBS news explains his background with the Cole bombing:

Quso’s co-defendant in the Cole indictment, Jamal al-Badawi, allegedly bought the boat and a truck to tow it to Aden harbor and rented a safe house to store it. One of Quso’s jobs in the plot, according to the indictment, was to retrieve and hide the car and trailer used to tow the attack boat into position.

On Oct. 12, 2000, the day on which two al Qaeda suicide bombers struck the Cole, Quso was meant to videotape the attack in the hills above the Port of Aden for use in al Qaeda propaganda. Quso failed to do so, later telling an FBI agent who interrogated him in Yemen that he had overslept.

The man accused of masterminding the bombing of the USS Cole, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. His trial does not begin until November 2012 but his pre-trial hearings are proving to be challenging to the prosecution since he is expected to testify about the more than four years he spent in secret CIA prisons.

Lawrence Wright, author of the book, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, talks to America Abroad on the program, Remembering the Cole, to discuss the USS Cole bombing and its implications for 9/11.

Yemen’s president resigns

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh has signed an agreement put forward by the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) to step down and transfer power to his vice president within 30 days. A unity government will be formed consisting of the opposition and two months after his resignation there will be a presidential election. The controversy behind the deal was immunity from Yemeni prosecution, something the opposition has repeatedly rejected. Al-Jazeera English reports from Sana’a, Yemen’s capital.

Saleh, the fourth leader ousted from power due to the Arab Spring revolts, is now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His resignation has put an end to the nine-month long uprising that has paralyzed the country and killed scores of demonstrators.

The uprising has led to a countrywide security collapse, with armed tribesmen battling security forces in different regions and al Qaeda-linked militants stepping up operations in the country’s restive south (CBS News).

Yemen is a poor country that sits in a strategically important maritime crossing and is home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). President Barack Obama has described AQAP as “al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate,” echoing an acknowledgment from U.S. counterterrorism officials that the threat from AQAP has supplanted that of the al-Qaeda core (NYT).

Yemen grapples with a host of potentially destabilizing challenges. Historians and Washington specialists discuss Yemen’s history and we explore conditions on the ground, and ask how Yemen became such a fragile state.