Anwar al-Awlaki

A Post-Mortem Analysis of AQAP Tribal Implementer Tariq al-Dhahab

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Publication: Volume: 3 Issue: 2

By: Murad Batal Al-Shishani

Tariq Al-Dhahab

Full article available on mlm.jamestown.org

Unlike most of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) releases, the death of Tariq al-Dhahab was confirmed by al-Fajr Media Centre, al-Qaeda’s official media arm, instead of Al-Malhim, AQAP’s media arm. This could represent a new effort designed to centralize the “condolence” statements and messages of the al-Qaeda affiliated groups.

At 35 years old, al-Dhahab was a tribal strongman, Anwar al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law, and the leader of AQAP’s newly formed “Ansar al-Shari’a” in al-Bayda Governorate. The stated aim of Ansar al-Shari’a is to implement Shari’a in various areas of Yemen. On February 16, 2012, al-Dhahab was reportedly killed by his half-brother Hizzam al-Dhahab (Ma’rib Press, February 16). Hizzam was accused of receiving orders from Yemeni authorities to attack his brother. [1] In ordering Tariq al-Shabab’s death, Yemeni authorities were trying to exploit an old tribal rift in the leadership of the al-Dhahab clan.

Hizzam al-Dhahab, who supported Yemeni authorities and the Saleh regime, fundamentally disagreed with Tariq’s ties to AQAP. With Tariq’s death Hizzam, his older brother, temporarily held leadership of the Yemeni city of Rada’a. Tariq’s AQAP affiliates were quick to retaliate to the killing of Tariq. They initiated an attack on Hizzam al-Dhahab’s home, killing Hizzam by planting a car bomb. Hizzam was dead less than twenty-four hours after the attack and death of his brother Tariq.

In the al-Fajr Media Centre statement AQAP said: “Sheikh Tariq al-Dhahab…was the first among tribes that resorted to rule and judge by Shari’a. His home was a shelter for those oppressed and the refuge of the needing persons.” Among other laudatory mentions, the statement described al-Dhahab as wise, patient, polite and brave. [2]

AQAP Affiliate Not Member

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s statement and the prompt revenge they conducted show the importance of al-Dhahab to them, although he was not a formal member of AQAP as many media outlets have suggested. [3]

Al-Dhahab’s connection to AQAP as an affiliate became apparent in mid-January 2012 when fighters led by him seized the al-Amiriyah historical site and announced Shari’a rule in the city of Rada’a, Yemen. Al-Dhahab later withdrew from the city following a tribal mediation that led to the release of his brother, Nabil al-Dhahab, and AQAP members held by Yemeni authorities.

Nabil was arrested by Syrian authorities in 2006 while travelling to Iraq to join the jihadi fight against American troops. Syria repatriated Nabil to Yemen. Tariq then sought Nabil’s release from the custody of Yemeni authorities. In 2007, Tariq appealed to Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, asking him to release Nabil with the threat that his tribe, “Qaifah” – one of the largest in Yemen, will do what it takes to release their sons. [4] Later, in return for Nabil’s freedom, Tariq agreed to withdraw AQAP troops from Rada’a but he reneged on this agreement.

Nabil al-Dhahab and Kaid al-Dhahab, Tariq and Hizzam’s brothers, are said to be taking steps to consolidate Rada’a in the wake of the family massacre. Tariq al-Dhahab was accused on multiple occasions of being a puppet of Saleh and executing his policies in order to send a message to the West that the alternative to his regime is al-Qaeda. Tariq denied the allegations, retorting that he could not be aligned with a regime that “imprisons our children, is loyal to the U.S. and does not rule by Shari’a.” [5]

AQAP Integration into Yemeni Tribes

Tariq al-Dhahab’s strongest link to AQAP was his relation to American-born Yemeni cleric and prominent AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki (killed in September 2011) who was married to al-Dhahab’s sister. [6] Read the rest of this entry »

‘Veto threat was a mere political theater’

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العربية: أنور العولقي English: Imam Anwar al-A...
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Terror suspects in America could be held in prison indefinitely – without charge or trial. The military will be able to take custody of alleged terrorists virtually without question. Critics say this would be a stark violation of human rights.

­The controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which was met with criticism from human rights activists, faced a presidential veto, but since last month Obama has retracted his warning.

“The White House explained it would veto the bill because these provisions, mandating military custody amount to a restriction of president’s authority,”
explains John Glaser, assistant editor at Antiwar.com.

“But in truth it’s reasonable to assume that a veto threat was a mere political theater, because Senator Carl Levin one of the provision’s primary authors revealed during senate debate that it was the Obama administration itself who requested the inclusion of language mandating military detentions, including US citizens. So you could say the administration never changed their minds, it was just a sort of doing it for public consumption,” he told RT. Read the rest of this entry »

ICSR – The International Centre For The Study Of Radicalisation And Political Violence

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Sep 2011

As American As Apple Pie: How Anwar al-Awlaki Became the Face of Western Jihad

ICSR is pleased to announce the release of its newest report, As American As Apple Pie: How Anwar al-Awlaki Became the Face of Western Jihad, by Research Fellow Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.  This study provides the first forensic analysis of Anwar al-Awlaki’s work, which tracks his ideological path from a supposedly moderate preacher to an al-Qaeda recruiter.   Read the rest of this entry »

U.N. examines cybersecurity

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Published: Jan. 29, 2010 at 4:49 PM

BERLIN, Jan. 29 (UPI) — U.N. members gathered for a workshop in Berlin to discuss how terrorist groups and organized criminal enterprises take advantage of the Internet.

The U.N. Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force organized a two-day workshop in the German capital to discuss laws in place aimed at examining the safety and use of the Internet for criminal activity.

The U.N. Security Council included Internet security in November as one of the areas of focus for the global effort to combat extremists. Read the rest of this entry »