Breaking News: Anwar al-Awlaki Indicted in Yemen
by THE EDITOR
November 2, 2010
Earlier today, Yemen took decisive action against the New Mexico-born supporter of terrorism, Anwar al-Awlaki. After the recent issues with disguised bombs being sent from Yemen by parcel services, addressed to locations in Chicago, the authorities in Yemen have indicted Awlaki for “plotting and incitement to murder foreigners.”
That is the good news. The bad news is that the indictment has been made in absentia. Awlaki’s location is still unknown, though he is believed to be in the north of the country, taking refuge among the al-Houthi rebels, who belong to the Zaydi sect and want autonomy from Yemen. The al-Houthi rebels (named after a leader, Badreddin al-Houthi, killed in September 2004) have been involved in disputes at the Saudi border. Saudi Arabia has launched rocket attacks against the al-Houthi rebels over the last year.
The indictment against Awlaki was announced during the trial of Hisham Muhammad Asim, a 19-year old Yemeni security guard at an Austrian oil and gas company called OMV. On October 6, at the offices in Sana’a of the OMV company, Asim had allegedly gone on a shooting rampage. A French logistics expert, 40-year old Jacques Spagnolo (called Jacks Asanyo in Yemeni media) died and a 65-year old Scottish man was injured. (Also on October 6, a rocket attack on a convoy containing Fionna Gibb, Britain’s ambassador to Yemen, failed to harm its target, though two bystanders were injured).
So will the indictment of Awlaki lead to him facing justice in America? It is unlikeky. Yemen’s authorities have claimed that once Awlaki is in custody, the law prevents Yemen from handing over its own nationals to another nation’s jurisdiction. Though born in America, and with dual nationality as a Yemeni and American citizen, Awlaki is seen as a Yemeni national.
Awlaki preaches a hardline morality, even though his own morality is questionable. The former imam of the Dar Al-Hijra Mosque in Falls Church, Virginia was twice caught soliciting prostitutes in San Diego in 1996 and 1997. Despite this, he gave online advice to the Somali group al-Shabaab on the best way to stone to death a 13 year old girl falsely accused of adultery. This girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, whose father claimed she was a rape victim, was stoned to death in front of 1,000 people on October 27, 2008.
Meanwhile, Yemen continues to hunt for Ibrahim al-Asiri, who is wanted for allegedly being the mastermind behind the bomb packages discovered en route to America on cargo planes. A Yemeni security official told Reuters:
“Asiri is believed to be hiding and moving with senior al Qaeda elements such as (Yemen al Qaeda leader) Nasser al-Wahayshi. Security intelligence are still tracking them down to exactly identify their whereabouts.”
The woman who was arrested by Yemeni authorities on Saturday, after her name and her mother’s phone number were found on the receipt when the two devices were sent from Yemen, has been released. It appears that someone used her name as a decoy.
Background information on Anwar al-Awlaki can be found here.