Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Al-Qaeda in Yemen, plus 'Muqtada Watch' Update

Here is an underreported story: Al-Qaeda springs 23 top jihadists from the Political Security Prison in Sana’a, Yemen, by digging a 300 meter tunnel from a nearby mosque. This happened two days ago. Among the 23 escapees is Jamal Al-Badawi, the No. 2 man in the conspiracy to bomb the USS Cole back in October 12, 2000 that resulted in the death of 17 American sailors and injured 39 others. According to what little info has been trickling out into the Arab press, 10 of the escapees were members of Al-Qaeda while the rest belonged to various jihadist groups that have been active in Yemen over the past several years. These leaks still don’t answer the question as to how, once the tunnel opened up into a prison cell, were the other inmates from different cells able to escape, fueling speculation that there was an insider among the prison authorities who helped in the breakout.

Muqtada the Statesman: So, after touring Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran, Muqtada Al-Sadr has landed in Damascus to hold talks with top Syrian officials, including Bashar Al-Asad, according to the official Syrian news agency. That’s a reassuring thought: Iraq is represented today by the likes of Muqatada. Maybe he should be made an Ambassador-at-Large for the Republic of Iraq…attending trade shows in Taiwan, or inaugurating Iraqi Cultural Centers in Latin America? Just for the record: Muqtada still has an outstanding arrest warrant in his name for his alleged involvement in the murder of Abdel-Majid Al-Khoei in April 2003. You’d think that such a warrant would be posted at Baghdad International Airport, huh? I guess then he is traveling by magic carpet.


Anonymous Steve said...

Iraqi politics are going to evolve in strange ways, over the years. It will be interesting to see which power centers will become dominent. I do not think anyone can predict what is going to happen, here.

3:46 PM, February 14, 2006

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