June 22, 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki: The Next Bin Laden

Patrick Symmes, GQ Magazine

AP Photo

It was the first drone attack in Yemen in a decade. On May 5, three days after Osama bin Laden was killed, a weaponized unmanned aircraft flew at 20,000 feet over the cracked and broken topography of Yemen. The target was a pickup truck carrying two men, one of them an American-born cleric named Anwar al-Awlaki.

U.S. intelligence had been tracking him for years. Last July, Awlaki had been seen in Shabwa Province, a restive Al Qaeda stronghold in southern Yemen, where he was said to have recruited hundreds of young loyalists. This May the Yemeni government tipped off U.S. forces that Awlaki was there again, hiding in the village of Abdan. About seventy-five American Special Forces are in Yemen, supposedly on a training mission. When a pickup truck carrying the cleric left...

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Related Topics: Yemen, Osama bin Laden