Reports have leaked that Al Qaeda’s second in command, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, was killed in a targeted drone strike in Yemen on Friday, according to Yemeni security officials.
While major media outlets called the killing “a heavy setback to the leadership of the international terrorist group,” in the face of ISIS it remains to be seen just how big a threat Al Qaeda actually is these days.
By all accounts, as we’ve covered here, ISIS has been dominating the smaller and less well funded Al Qaeda group.
The Obama administration has also admitted they do not have a plan for dealing with ISIS and appear set on running out the clock and leaving the problem to the next administration rather than committing resources to actually fight the terror group.
So the announcement that Al-Wuhayshi, supposedly the top leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed sounds a bit hollow in light of the huge threat posed by ISIS.
His death was called “the biggest blow against al Qaeda since the death of bin Laden,” according to terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank.
Al-Wuhayshi was a “leading light” of al Qaeda and was expected to take over from its current global chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said Cruickshank.
The killing was confirmed on Tuesday, after AQAP released a video statement announcing that its leader and two assistants had died. The speaker, somewhat foolishly, said that the group’s military chief, Qasm al-Rimi, would succeed al-Wuhayshi.
“If it’s true, it is a significant blow. Leadership matters,” Sen. Angus King, an independent of Maine, said to reporters on Monday.
Yet while a blow to a known terror network, the timing of the attack, and the large amount of publicity it received in U.S. mainstream media, raise serious questions about America’s handling of terror groups in the middle east.
The killing of Al-Wuhayshi is likely to serve as more of a political tool for the Obama administration than a truly effective blow to America’s enemies. ISIS remains the most pressing threat to the United States and the Obama administration continues to be unwilling to committing to a plan that curbs their spread.Stay Connected