At yet another politically expedient juncture for the White House, a top Al Qaeda commander is said to have been killed in Yemen by a missile fired from a drone.
Just a few days after news broke that yet another US drone strike had killed 13 Yemeni civilians, including three women, we now learn that, according to senior Yemeni Defense Ministry officials, al Qaeda’s “No. 2 leader” in Yemen, Saeed al-Shihri, has been slain.
“A senior official at the Yemeni president’s office confirmed the attack, but said DNA tests have yet to establish al-Shihri’s identity.” reports the AP.
Of course, as with practically every other Al Qaeda boogie man before him, al-Shihri was reported captured and killed years ago.
The wikipedia entry for al-Shihri details the fact that he was first captured at the Pakistan border with Afghanistan, in December 2001, and was one of the first detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, where he was imprisoned for six years. After that time he was then repatriated to Saudi custody, later to be released, whereupon he was said to have traveled to Yemen. Not long after, the Defense Intelligence Agency published a “fact sheet” claiming that al-Shihri had “re-engaged in terrorism”.
On December 24, 2009, it was reported that al-Shihri was killed in an air strike in Yemen. Indeed, this was said to be the very same airstrike that reportedly killed the US born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (who was also later reported killed again in another airstrike in 2011).
Then on January 19, 2010, Yemen security authorities reported they had captured al-Shihri.
One month later, the Yemen Post reported that the release of an audio recording containing al-Shihri’s voice was an indication that he was still alive and operating within Yemen.
As with so many before him, al-Shihri’s true identity is mysterious and questionable at best.
As we have previously reported, every significant Al Qaeda leader appears to have been killed or reported killed several times, indicating that these people are simply names,interchangeable at the whim of the Pentagon, US Intelligence and their corporate media mouthpieces.
Much like the American born cleric al-Awlaki, al-Shihri was linked with everything from the aborted Christmas Day underwear bombing to the ink toner plane bomb plot.
The news comes in the wake of recent increased scrutiny regarding the continued heavy use of drones by the Obama administration.
Reporter Jeremy Scahill took an MSNBC panel to task Sunday for not flagging up Obama’s aggressive foreign policy, including the use of drones. Scahill accused Democrats of engaging in “revisionism” and “jingoism” regarding foreign policy issues at the DNC.