On February 7th, the US announced that the leader of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Qassim al-Raymi was killed in a US strike, at the direction of US President Donald Trump.
White House confirmation about the targeted killing of Qassim al-Rimi, leader of AQAP. pic.twitter.com/fzE6aAn7ZL
— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) February 6, 2020
“Under [al-Raymi], AQAP committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and our forces,” the White House statement reads.
“His death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qa’ida movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security.”
Earlier, in a video that was distributed only, allegedly showed al-Raymi claim responsibility for the December 6th incident at Naval Air Station Pensacola, when a Saudi aviation trainee killed three American sailors.
In the 18-minute video that his group was responsible for the Dec. 6 shooting at the base. He called the shooter, Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Alshamrani, a “courageous knight” and a “hero.”
The shooting focused public attention on the presence of foreign students in American military training programs and exposed shortcomings in the screening of cadets. In January, the U.S. sent home 21 Saudi military students, saying the trainees had jihadist or anti-American sentiments on social media pages or had “contact with child pornography.”
Trump’s announcement confirmed earlier rumours that al-Raymi had been killed. In late January, a suspected U.S. drone strike destroyed a building, which housed al-Qaeda militants in eastern Yemen.
Al-Raymi became the leader of the AQAP after in 2015, previous leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who was killed in a similar US operation.
Back then, the White House celebrated the assassination, saying it was another step toward “degrading and ultimately defeating these groups.”
Under al-Raymi, AQAP called for stepped up attacks against the US, urging members to “direct and gather your arrows and swords against [America].”
The US “fight on terror” especially in Yemen is a sort of vicious cycle, in which it killed one leader, for him to be replaced by an even more aggressive leader, which led to a deterioration in the fight against Al-Qaeda.
Furthermore, most of the al-Qaeda strongholds in Yemen are in territories under the control of the Saudi-led coalition which continues its intervention in the country.
The only possible way for the fight against al-Qaeda to be won in Yemen is if the Saudi-led coalition withdraws entirely from the country, and then the Houthis will likely purge these elements from the country in short manner (with possible, but unlikely assistance from the US).
Other than that, the US is playing a sort of whack-a-mole, which it most likely is aware of and is simply killing one leader after another, without there being any effect, since the situation between the assassinations of al-Wuhayshi and al-Raymi hadn’t improved, it had only got worse.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Terrorism Probe Opened After Pensacola Shooter IDed As Saudi National Mohammed Alshamrani; Was There For Pilot Training
- The US Halts Saudi Military Personnel Training in The Wake of Terror Attack