Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shabwah, Yemen, 24 December 2009

The reports all agree that the target was a gathering of Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, and the death toll was upwards of 30. But they don't agree on much else. It is firm that Muhammad Ahmad Salih al-'Umur is dead, just one day after al-Jazeera broadcast some of his propaganda. Several other emirs or semi-emirs are probably dead, including the last two of the four members of the original shurah of the reconstituted AQAP. Those are Naser Abdul-Karim al-Wahishi and Sa'id al-Shihri.

It would excellent news if Anwar al-Awlaki was killed, but that is no certainty from where I'm sitting.

The general cloak of silence over this important development makes me suspect that additional attacks against AQAP are in preparation or under way. Al-Jazeera's terrorist forum, where AQ would be very quick to make its routine eulogies and threats of revenge, is offline, and some Yemeni private news outlets seem to be in the dark more than is usual for them. So, I figure there are not just some pieces yet to fill in to this good story, but additional good news in the offing.

Update: The al-Jazeera terrorist forum is back up, but up to this moment it contains nothing about the Shabwah affair except a rather small volume of the predictable Arab bombast.