Al Jazeera alleges that AQAP’s new leader may have been a Saleh mole

A couple of weeks ago, Al Jazeera published a report that alleged that the former Yemeni government of Ali Abdullah Saleh supported Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),  that it knew about and possibly even coordinating AQAP’s 2008 attack on the US embassy in Sanaa and a 2007 attack on Spanish tourists there. The allegation was made by Hani Muhammad Mujahid, a man who claims to have been an Al-Qaeda operative before being captured and returned to Yemen, where he turned informant in exchange for his freedom. In light of Nasir al-Wuhayshi’s demise it’s interesting to note that the guy Mujahid identifies as having been Saleh’s man inside AQAP, Qassim al-Raymi, is the same guy who was just appointed to succeed Wuhayshi as AQAP’s commander. This could be a big deal, if it’s true, insofar as AQAP has been fighting the Houthis, and the Houthis are now working with Saleh and those in Yemen’s military and government who still remain loyal to him.

Qassim al-Raymi (via)

The problem is that it’s impossible to verify most of Mujahid’s story after the part where he’s captured in Afghanistan, sent back to Yemen, and agrees to become an informant. Al Jazeera speculates that Raymi has been able to survive this long because he’s been working with Yemeni authorities, but that’s pretty specious. They even suggest that he or someone else in AQAP might have betrayed Wuhayshi’s whereabouts to the Americans, but talk about a claim that needs some evidence.


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