Saudi analysts: Al-Awlaki's death represents crippling blow to al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda has lost almost all its leaders within the last four months and this has reduced the ranks of its theorists and decision makers. [Yemen Defence Ministry]

Al-Qaeda has lost almost all its leaders within the last four months and this has reduced the ranks of its theorists and decision makers. [Yemen Defence Ministry]

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Analysts in Saudi Arabia said the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent al-Qaeda leader, represents "another blow against the terrorist organisation". Yemen's Defence Ministry announced Friday (September 30th) that al-Awlaki and three other members of the organisation were killed during an airstrike near al-Jawf and Marib provinces, east of Sanaa.

Al-Awlaki was a US-born Muslim cleric of Yemeni descent. In recent years his name was linked to several attacks including a shooting in 2009 at a US Army base in Fort Hood, Texas. Al-Awlaki had connections with the American officer, Nidal Hasan, who was responsible for the attack which led to 13 deaths.

Al-Awlaki admitted in a 2010 interview with Al Jazeera that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – who is on trial in the US for an attempted bombing of a plane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 - was one of his students. Al-Awlaki said he supported what Abdulmutallab was attempting to do, according to the Al-Jazeera interview.

Dr. Youssif Al-Rumaihi, a security advisor and professor specialising in counter-terrorism and crime prevention at Qassim University in Saudi Arabia, said al-Qaeda has lost almost all its leaders within the last four months and this has reduced the ranks of its theorists and decision makers.

Al-Rumaihi said, "Al-Awlaki mirrored his fallen master, Osama bin Laden, in his terrorist activities and both their hands were smeared with the blood of innocent people who were victims of their extremist acts."

Al-Rumaihi described al-Awlaki's death as "a great burden that was removed from the shoulders of Islam and Muslims." He considers the heavy losses inflicted upon al-Qaeda's leaders to be "a positive sign towards eliminating their organisation while it continues to disintegrate and weaken".

"After the death of al-Awlaki, al-Qaeda's theorists number no more than a handful, and I think al-Qaeda has now been reduced to a group of mercenaries who lack field expertise. They are bound to be imprisoned or killed," Al-Rumaihi added.

He said al-Awlaki deserves the fate that has befallen him because several of his terrorist activities specifically targeted Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Zulfa, a former member of the Saudi Shura Council, said, "The removal of that extremist al-Awlaki is a win for Islam, for Saudi Arabia and for Yemen."

Al-Zulfa said the killing of al-Awlaki sends a strong message to young people who have lost their way, telling them it is time for them to return to a more moderate path instead of following one that terrorises innocents. This is especially true because the "malefactors" cannot expect to have a decent place in this world, he said.

Al-Zulfa added that al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations exploited what he calls "absurdity, tensions and pockets of chaos which cannot amount to anything positive as well as their working towards incapacitating social infrastructures wherever they go".

Al-Zulfa added, "Al-Qaeda and other extremist demagogues claimed they were fighting the West in the name of Islam, but they are actually fighting their own countries and are misinterpreting their religion before they are having an effect upon the West. This reflects their utter ignorance because their smallest actions are damaging the economy of their home countries. They would have been better off spending their money on building their homelands instead of wasting millions of dollars financing terrorist activities everywhere."

Al-Zulfa said Saudi Arabia benefitted from al-Awlaki's death because he posed a terrorist threat to the Saudi-Yemeni border area.

He added, "It was the intention of the extremists for a long time to mislead as many Saudi youths as they could in an attempt to undermine the Saudi government politically, economically and socially. Saudi Arabia was aware of their tactics early on and pre-empted their terrorist ambitions by waging a relentless war against them. Al-Awlaki is an example of that terrorist threat."

Al-Zulfa said al-Qaeda is "in a state of continuous erosion" given the death of more of its key leaders this year and that it is in its final stages because of the destruction of its leadership and the limitations of its funding sources.

According to him, al-Qaeda's decision to use Yemen as a centre for its terrorist operations will lead to failure. This is especially true in light of the Arab Spring, which he said will demonstrate to the terrorists that the region is moving towards greater stability and a generation of moderate Arabs is emerging in the political arena.

Dr. Khaled Al-Dakhil, a Saudi writer and researcher in political sociology, said al-Awlaki's death could be considered another severe blow to al-Qaeda since he is one of their key leaders in the Arabian Peninsula.

Al-Dakhil said the benefits for Saudi Arabia following al-Awlaki's death are "monumental" especially since he used Yemen and the border area that separates it from Saudi Arabia as a breeding ground for his terrorist activities, adding that Saudi Arabia has succeeded in dealing "lethal blows" to al-Qaeda.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    لعنة الله على كل من يدعم القاعدة

    2012-4-6

    The crimes that are committed by the terrorist al-Qaeda organization that target the Muslims are among the most painful and horrible crimes that I condemn. I condemn along with them this failed and diseased organization that claims to defend Islam to come after that and target the Muslims in such a horrible way that led to the loss of numbers that cannot be ignored of the Muslims. They suffer from this organization that targets them and tries to defame the image of their religion with their thoughts and words, which are completely away from the Islamic thought. Islam is innocent of the terrorist al-Qaeda organization, its acts, manner and infidel thoughts. I think that all these crimes are nothing but terrorist crimes. We cannot do anything but condemn it. We do not believe in terrorism and it doesn't disbelieve us because terrorism is one of the organizations that target Islam and Muslims. It tries to end this religion through the intellectual campaign it is trying to spread, so as to infect Islam and the Muslims with the greatest harm.

  • فاخر امير عادل

    2012-2-10

    It is very necessary to correct this idea because all people must follow the Islamic religion, which promotes all the correct, fair, and good behaviors and manners that strengthen the meanings of love, brotherhood, cooperation, peace, security, mercy, and tranquility. Hence, we have to stop all the extremist elements who adopt extremist thoughts and bring nothing but harm to Islam. Hence, all people have to work seriously to fix the wrong perception that some people have about Islam worldwide. As for the fact that Saudi Arabia deploys the extremists, this is not true because we must remember that many terrorists belong to other states such as Yemen and Afghanistan, and they all work to defame Islam.

  • جواد غالي

    2011-11-26

    The organization of Al-Qaeda has sustained successive blows. This has significantly affected its presence on the international scene. In fact, Al-Qaeda is an oppressive and extremist organization that has claimed the lives of many innocent people. And God Almighty will not reform the acts of the corrupt members. Thus, many prominent leaders of Al-Qaeda have been killed and arrested during the previous months, such as the first leader, Osama bin Laden, and the second man, Atiyah Abd Al-Rahman, chosen by Ayman Al-Zawahiri to be his assistant.

  • سليم ذنون

    2011-11-26

    The Yemeni Ministry of Defense announced, at the end of the previous month of September, the death of Anwar al-Awlaki. This is in addition to three members of Al-Qaeda who were killed in an air strike in Yemen. This has constituted another blow to al-Qaeda, which has begun suffering from isolation and weakness due to the loss of most of its leaders who have practiced all kinds of killing and bombing. This leader had planned all of the different operations. In addition, he had the ability to make decisions and carry out terrorist operations. In fact, he had a relationship with many American officers, because he was American and Yemeni in nationality. Thus, the death of Anwar al-Awlaki has significantly affected the performance of al-Qaeda, because he was the only prominent and competent member in that period. Many other leaders of al-Qaeda have been killed in Iraq, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayyub al-Masri, in addition to the arrest of many other leaders of al-Qaeda who are now in prisons, and they will get their due punishment. In fact, a group of al-Qaeda leaders have been killed because they have attacked safe societies. Thus, the terrorist organization of al-Qaeda is on the verge of collapse, because it has no masterminds. At the current time, al-Qaeda includes a group of mercenaries who have no fighting experience.

  • بندر

    2011-11-4

    I am certain that the killing of Al Awlaqi is a blow to Al Qaeda.

  • علي دبيسان

    2011-10-31

    In the current stage, the terrorist organization of al-Qaeda has gone through tough times due to the loss of many masterminds who had drawn up the approach of this criminal organization.

  • عبدالملك جبير

    2011-10-30

    Undoubtedly, the al-Qaeda terrorist organization has been affected by the killing of a terrorist leader from this terrorist organization. The criminal Anwar Al-Awlaki was an international terrorist and al-Qaeda used to greatly rely on him. Today, after the killing of this criminal, terrorism and al-Qaeda are suffering greatly, because they have been affected by the death of Anwar Al-Awlaki. He took part in many of the plans of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. In addition, he was among the masterminds behind many attacks, and recruited many Takfiri members to work with al-Qaeda. For many years, he had been working in order to spread deviant terrorist ideas adopted by the al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

  • سهراب

    2011-10-29

    I think that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki will have a significant impact on the members and groups of al-Qaeda, and that his death will represent a setback and a shock to them. It will be considered a defeat, because the organization has lost a lot of leaders who were planning and guiding all of the individual members and gangs. In fact, the latter are the masterminds of these groups, and the killing of al-Awlaki will be considered a severe blow, especially after the loss of Osama bin Laden and many leaders after him. For this reason, I think that the groups of al-Qaeda are looking for places to settle down in order to expand their operations and become close to the countries that are experiencing a chaotic situation. However, they still suffer from being tracked down by the security forces in each country, and this limited their actions, especially now that they do not have as many leaders as before. Such a situation has created a state of imbalance and chaos among the members of al-Qaeda, who started to carry out absurd terrorist attacks and to abide by the instructions of their superiors. For this reason, we hope that the security forces in all countries which are witnessing the presence of the al-Qaeda groups will operate continuously day and night, and perform their full duty by depriving the terrorist groups of al-Qaeda of any area or opportunity to plan and carry out their attacks and terrorist bombings, assassinations, murders and kidnappings. It is also necessary to pursue and track down all terrorist elements in order to reach their leaders who are planning and instructing the misguided elements. They must be captured in order to get rid of them once and for all, and ensure stability in the Arab countries, so that they can enjoy calm, peace and security.

  • مهدي عساف

    2011-10-28

    The al-Qaeda organization has been greatly affected recently by the killing of many of its leaders and the important and prominent figures in it. This certainly will contribute to weakening the organization from the tactical and the psychological sides, for the members of the organization who are at a lower rank than al-Awlaki, Khan, and the other al-Qaeda criminals who have been killed. This targeting of the al-Qaeda symbols is evidence of the weakness of al-Qaeda and its leaders in hiding, as it can no longer become strong and stubborn and its system cannot be accessed. I am sure that the targeting and killing of the al-Qaeda leaders was not a mere chance, but it was an outcome of follow-up and penetration operations of al-Qaeda, as well as the cooperation between some of the al-Qaeda members who provide the intelligence agencies with the necessary information about those leaders and their movements, and this facilitates the process of their being arrested by the U.S. security system or another one. I am sure that Al-Qaeda in this stage is like the one who fights against death, and if it remains on earth, it will be marginalized and will have no significant influence as it did before.

  • صمد عباس

    2011-10-27

    The international community has to take proper, real and deterrent procedures against Iran. We should stop this slow process in punishing the Iranian government for their international crimes. We should not forget that al-Qaeda, which is considered the biggest terrorist organization, gets a lot of reinforcement and takes orders from the Iranian government. This is why the Iranian government is a terrorist government that depends on the killing and the assassination of their enemies. They do not believe in dialogue or accepting other opinions in politics; they just want to force their view on everybody. Now it is time for Saudi Arabia and the United States to take revenge on the evil Iranians who have practiced and still practicing international terrorism against all of the people of the world.

  • براء ايوب

    2011-10-27

    We have to be aware of the importance of the criminal al-Awlaki for al-Qaeda and the loss and the impact of the death of such a prominent leader on this organization. This criminal person has always been responsible for the death of thousands of the innocent, as a result of his takfiri plans and his criminal extremist acts that have caused a lot of crimes.

  • رقيب ابو طيب

    2011-10-25

    Certainly, the targeting of the leaders of this criminal organization and its basic staff will have an impact on the elements of this organization as well as on their leadership role, which will be a major means of weakening this terrorist organization. Al-Awlaki is considered one of the most dangerous criminals and terrorists, and he has been working with al-Qaeda for a long time. He has committed a lot of crimes and made plans for many others, and he has been a significant contributor who recruits for al-Qaeda, and he has had a significant role in activating the movement of terrorism and the infidel and extremist thoughts in Yemen during previous years. This is what happened in Yemen because of these types of people, like al- Awlaki and other criminals who deceive the youth and brainwash them by inviting them to Jihad and the Salafi ideaology and others. The targeting of these infidels from among the al-Qaeda leaders, one after the other, is great evidence of the power of the intelligence information obtained by the U.S. forces, as well as the cooperation of other countries, including Yemen, to get rid of terrorism and to eliminate the al-Qaeda organization as soon as possible.

  • ايوب

    2011-10-25

    This criminal and his organization in Yemen were the reason behind the killing of many civilians and Muslims in Yemen. The murdering of these innocent people and civilians is unacceptable in all religions. The al-Qaeda organization has become weak as a terrorist organization, having a kind of control in some places, but these attacks on targets to the leaders base of the al-Qaeda organization, and their murder, is great evidence that this organization is rejected and discarded by everyone, including Islamic countries. That is because they have deformed the reputation of the religion. They are now cooperating to get rid of this criminal terrorism. The killing of the al-Qaeda leader gives us a feeling of comfort and safety, as evidence that they will not be able to escape or hide anyplace in this world, so that wherever they hide, we will reach them through the great cooperation among countries to destroy terrorist networks.

  • دريد حيد

    2011-10-24

    Certainly, the death of Al-Awlaqi represents a serious loss to the cells of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, which depended heavily on many of the arrested leaders who were killed or assassinated at the hands of the security forces. Hence these successive strikes against al-Qaeda and its cells, which carry out explosions, kidnappings, assassinations and suicide attacks, and attempts to harm people in every possible way. These terrorist organizations have tarnished the pure image of Islam through the behavior of al-Qaeda and its leaders, who allege that they follow the teachings of Islam and commit their crimes under the name of Islam. However, I would like to say to them that their acts have nothing to do with Islam or jihad. You deceive the people and the youth under the name of jihad and the influence of money. They exploit the youth’s need for money in order to control them and make them obey all orders regarding carrying out suicide attacks and bombings, using the different explosives and sticky bombs. Hence, killing many of the leaders of al-Qaeda is a positive thing.

  • نجيب صلاح

    2011-10-24

    I think that losing Samir Khan and Anwar Al-Awlaqi will considerably affect the members and groups of al-Qaeda, and they will become weaker. In addition, the masterminds will be eliminated, whether by being murdered or arrested by the Iraqi security forces. Hence, many people are optimistic that the security forces will do what is required from them to get rid of the elements of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, including the important personalities and the individuals who were recruited to kill the people through the exploitation of religion and convincing them that they are performing jihad and serving religion. They recruit the boys, the girls and the children to carry out what is required from them in the name of Islam and under the influence of money, in order to carry out terrorist attacks against the innocent citizens. Hence, the more we get to the key commanders, the more we will weaken al-Qaeda. Ultimately, this will assure the citizens. Hence, the loss of Samir Khan and Anwar Al-Awlaqi played a significant role in arresting more members of al-Qaeda quickly. In addition, the arrested members will be interrogated and they will divulge information about more members, until we arrest all the members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

  • sosa

    2011-10-11

    The damnable al-Qaeda has committed many shameful acts, through which it killed innocent people everywhere all over the country. I am one of those who hate the despicable al-Qaeda the most; it sheds blood everywhere. The first leader of the organization was the damned bin Laden, who has been killed, and the Arab and Islamic world are now rid of his evil and tricks. His fate is unknown, because he made the fates of many innocent people unknown, as they were his victims. Terrorists from the al-Qaeda organization were really shaken up after he died. Thank God for ridding the nation of Islam and the Arab world of him and of his evil, and of those who came after him, one after the other, like Attiya Abd al-Rahman who was the right hand of Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al-Zawahiri cannot do anything without him. He was also killed after Osama bin Laden. Attiya was an important man in the al- Qaeda organization. Al-Qaeda deteriorated after his murder. After that, Anwar al-Awlaqi was killed by an unmanned American aircraft, and they rid us of him and his evil, which threatened the Western and the Islamic countries. Thank God, we got rid of him forever. Al-Qaeda is now destined for the lowest possible fate, and it cannot manage its own affairs. The Arab and Islamic nation should move and unite in order to rid us of all the damned al-Qaeda organization members. O, my Lord, rid us of them forever and shake the earth beneath their feet. Never show them favor. God willing, their end will come soon, and God will torture them in this life before the next one. He’s the All-Hearing and the Omniscient. O God, bestow mercy on all the Arab peoples to protect them from the rage of the al-Qaeda organization, because they always commit murders, slaughters, destruction and torture. I pray to God every day and in every prayer to make al-Qaeda damned and humiliated, because they have sunk to the lowest point.

  • الرحبي

    2011-10-9

    My brothers, al-Qaeda is just a name; they are actually Khawarij. They declare Muslims infidels. It is not rational or sane for a Muslim to blow himself up among Muslims; yet they call them infidels. This is what we owe God. Al-Wadaee, may God have mercy on him, said that the Khawarij were about to be demolished till Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power and imprisoned the Muslim Brothers. Oppression became very strong in prisons, so the movement of the Khawarij was revived again. God is the Helper!

  • ام دودي

    2011-10-8

    I agree with Brother Ahmed. This is one hundred percent logical. I think al-Qaeda is a Jihad network, not a terrorist one. May God give them victory! The Prophet, peace be upon him, died but Islam did not, on the contrary, it spread out. Osama died, but the Jihad thought did not stop.

  • احمد

    2011-10-5

    This is a good-for-nothing, sick and spiteful site. It only publishes nonsense; we want logical, clear replies about the method of al-Qaeda’s thinking. We want a discussion on every point with clarified evidence, so that we can see your credibility and caution to fight terrorism. It has to be a clear challenge; otherwise your efforts will be in vain, especially with the spread of the religious methodology that obligates the Muslim with a certain method, not to cry, scream and utter boring, monotonous words. Will you take the challenge and exert the real effort of adopting a right position or not?