Awlaki Meets the American Drone

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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The number one inspirer of homegrown jihad in the West, Anwar al-Awlaki, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen along with Samir Khan, the editor of his English-language online magazine. Both were US-born jihadists busy waging war against their home country. Awlaki’s toxic preaching will still be creating terrorists around the world, but his role will be very difficult for the group to replace. With eight senior leaders killed or captured since May, it will be nearly impossible for Al-Qaeda to convince its supporters that it is in good shape.

There is disagreement about Awlaki’s exact position in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but there is no question that he was a rising star with enormous influence. President Obama described him as the “leader of external operations” for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) when he announced Awlaki’s death. The U.S. was able to finally track him down after several near-misses by arresting and interrogating Muslim-Americans who came back home after being trained by AQAP. The interviews enabled the U.S. to determine that Awlaki was living within a 100-kilometer area within Yemen. The CIA learned about a previously known ex-wife of Awlaki’s in Ireland, and she became a crucial source of information in January. She gave a long list of relatives and disclosed their closeness to Awlaki. She mentioned who lived and met with him in Yemen, and gave a phone number for one individual living in Sanaa. The recruitment of Awlaki’s ex-wife was critical in ultimately finding him. Three weeks ago, the Yemenis captured a courier of the terrorist leader, who pinpointed his location.

CIA drones monitored Awlaki overhead as he moved between underground bunkers in Marib and Jawf Provinces for three weeks after leaving Shabwa Province out of security concerns. On September 30, Awlaki and his cohorts finished breakfast and began the 700-yard trek from their safehouse in Jawf Province to their cars. Two Predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles were overhead. The first missile struck, and Awlaki and the rest of the survivors ran to a pickup truck that was then destroyed. At least 7 were killed, including Awlaki, his bodyguards, and Samir Khan, his protégé that put together his English-language online magazine, Inspire. Some on the Left, including the American Civil Liberties Union, and libertarians on the Right, like presidential candidates Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, were upset that the CIA killed an American citizen without due process.

It is difficult to exaggerate Awlaki’s impact on radicalization in the West. His sermons have influenced practically every case of homegrown terrorism. Hundreds of Americans and Europeans have trained under him. Up to three dozen Americans that have served time in prison have gone to Yemen, including some described as “blonde-haired, blue-eyed types.” He is thought to have played an operational role in the cargo plane bomb plot, the Fort Hood shooting, the underwear bomb plot, a plot to attack British Airways and as growing evidence indicates, the 9/11 attacks.

He has inspired a long list of terrorists. This includes Americans who sought to join al-Shabaab in Somalia; the soldier who used Inspire to try to carry out a second Fort Hood attack; the Times Square bomber; the group that targeted Fort Dix; a British student who tried to stab a parliamentarian; aspiring homegrown terrorists in Texas and Illinois; the Pakistani-American who wanted to bomb the D.C. metro; the “Toronto 18”; and Ali al-Timimi of the “Virginia Jihad Network.” Western recruits traveling to Pakistan sometimes stopped in Yemen to meet Awlaki and even groups that have disagreed with Al-Qaeda, like Hizb ut-Tahrir, promote his preaching.

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  • UCSPanther

    Sayonara, scumbag. I hope all those who died in the Fort Hood rampage get a crack at you in the afterlife.

  • Chezwick_mac

    Poor sap has just discovered that not only are there no virgins, but the God he worshiped and feared all his life is actually the God of his enemies.

    • welldoneson

      chez, I figure the only virgins these jihadis are going to meet are EACH OTHER!

      • Chezwick_mac

        I hear you…although in Awlaki's case, he was caught frequenting prostitutes in the USA before fleeing to Yemen. I guess these were the only women who would ever have him.

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    WAS ANWAR AL AWLAKI A US CITIZEN WHEN HE DIED? NO WAY!

    Al Qaida is a stateless militant organization of anti-US Moslem killers sworn to the utter destruction of America in the name of Allah, and for the purpose of restoring Islam as a great world power. And on the day that the delusional Awlaki had his jihadi awakening or Damascus experience-when he imagined that he heard from God the call to arms realizing in the fog of his deranged and hate filled mind the evil purpose of his life; in otherwords, on the day Awlaki made the fatal decision to join Al Qaida's jihad against America he replaced the US Constitution with the Koran, the US President with Bin Ladin, and his US citizenship for the CITIZENSHIP OF ISLAM.

    Click my name to continue reading this piece at my TOP widely linked blog at Townhall.com.

    • welldoneson

      his citizenship doesn't enter into it. he was committing acts of war by encouraging simple-minded jihadis to commit acts of war, that makes him a viable target.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      Who wants to read your cowardly, unattributed garbage?

      • KarshiKhanabad

        Oh, Flippiedippie you do so manage to crush your opponents so effectively with such rock solid irrefutable logic!

        • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

          So you’re defending as legitimate an anonymous blog that purports to give political analysis. You’re part of the dumbing down of media.

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      The article did miss to address the legitimacy of the targeted killing of those enemy combatants who were American citizens (even if despicable). The fact that this drastic action of the US government (this time) happened to serve a good purpose does not warrant unconditional applause.

      Fortunately it is not difficult to figure out, that while being abroad, certain actions of an American citizen may cause automatic waiver of his citizenship. Just look into your passport at item 13: Loss of US citizenship. Fighting with enemy combatants against US well fits it.

      As to Mr. Ron Paul, although this time his concerns about civil rights of islamic enemies happened to be legitimate, they fell flat at a closer look. His concerns look particularly betraying in the context of his other statements:

      - As though America is not exclusively Judeo-Christian nation;
      - As though islam has always been a part of American National identity;
      - As though it is OK if America turns into islamic nation in the frame of the 1st Amendment.

  • Toby Dammit

    I hope all reading this story will realize that Ron Paul and his followers do NOT represent mainstream Republicans or Democrats. They also don't represent the same good Tea Party folks as Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin. Ron Paul & Co. are dangerous lunatics so fixated on their "libertarian" principles that they are immune to concepts like right and wrong.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      Mainstream Democrats and Republicans are swine, so it's better to be a dangerous lunatic who loves the Constitution.

      • UCSPanther

        And your "dangerous lunatic" wants scum like Awlaki to get away with his crimes and plan more…

        • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

          His crime of being a Muslim cleric who leaves the country?

  • myohmy

    Is it legal to kill an American like this without legal "due process"? Well if you have the right to self defese by killing a criminal in the act of committing murder and Awlaki was spending his every waking moment attempting to have his minions murder innocent Americans then killing him any time, any place is legal. Killing him by drone is justified and legal. And not only that our leaders take a sworn oath to defend America and our constitution and to not kill a terrorist who is responsible for murdering Americans is not only legal, it's their duty to kill him and save American lives. We Americans have the right to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness and a known terrorist who has killed Americans and are in the process of killing more Americans must be dealt with. Arrest him if possible, but in this case an arrest was not possible. He was in the act of committing crimes against Americans and killing him was the only way to stop him and defend America. Good kill.

  • tanstaafl

    Notice that the U.S. targeted Al-Qaeda's media leaders. (I'm not complaining, mind you.)

  • ObamaYoMoma

    The number one inspirer of homegrown jihad in the West, Anwar al-Awlaki,

    This is utterly absurd to say the least. Islam and Allah's apostle, Muhammad, are the number one inspirers of homegrown jihad. Awlaki was just a facilitator.

    Awlaki’s toxic preaching will still be creating terrorists around the world,

    Nah, not really. Awlaki's so-called toxic preaching is exactly what is preached in virtually every mosque around the world and that is also contained in billions of Korans as well. Awlaki's preachings was no different from the preachings of millions of other Imams around the world. Apparently, the writer of this propaganda has never personally examined what is contained in the Koran and the Sunnah, yet he is still making absurd and false misrepresentations about the nature of our enemies like a useful idiot.

    With eight senior leaders killed or captured since May, it will be nearly impossible for Al-Qaeda to convince its supporters that it is in good shape.

    Of course, the lamestream press is trying to blow the significance of the killing of Awlaki and others way out of proportion because it has a vested interest in keeping us all focused only on terror in an effort to keep us believing in the many false and political correct paradigms that they constantly and incessantly promote.

    For instance, we are fighting a declared War on Terrorism today. Yet, terrorism is a product of Western civilization only as opposed to Islamic civilization and is thus perpetrated by only non-Muslims. While jihad, which is holy fighting in the cause of Allah against unbelievers to make Islam supreme, on the other hand, is a product of Islamic civilization only as opposed to Western civilization and is thus fought only by Muslims.

    In addition, as its name implies terrorism is always violent, while jihad, on the other hand, can take place via violent and non-violent means. In fact, non-violent jihad relative to violent jihad takes place astronomically far more prevalently. Yet, because violent jihad is always conflated as being terrorism by the lamestream press, the many non-violent varieties of jihad take place totally unacknowledged and unopposed today in the West, and, of course, it is all reenforced by the many false and political correct paradigms that are constantly and incessantly promoted by the lamestream press and this useful idiot writer.

    Furthermore, the threat to freedom and prosperity emanating from the non-violent varieties of jihad relative to the violent varieties of jihad is also astronomically far greater. While violent jihad, which is always conflated as being terrorism, is violent and can be very bloody, there is very little chance that it can result in our lost of freedom and prosperity. While, on the other hand, unacknowledged and unopposed stealth and demographic conquest via mass Muslim immigration can and will transform many countries into Islamic totalitarian hellholes, as recently happened in Cote D'Ivoire and like is in the process of happening in Nigeria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, and too many other places to mention.

    President Obama described him as the “leader of external operations” for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) when he announced Awlaki’s death.

    And President Obama is a leading authority on Islam? Give me a break! He's a loon like the writer of this lame ass article!

    It is difficult to exaggerate Awlaki’s impact on radicalization in the West. His sermons have influenced practically every case of homegrown terrorism.

    Yeah right! That is poppycock and utterly absurd. Indeed, the notion that there is a specific radicalization process whereby so-called peaceful and moderate Muslims are transformed and morphed overnight into so-called vicious radical Muslims is another false and political correct myth promoted by the lamestream press and useful idiots like the writer of this garbage.

    The reality is ALL MAINSTREAM ORTHODOX MUSLIMS are jihadists. A few of them are violent jihadists, while the majority of them are non-violent stealth and deceptive jihadists, and the ones that are not jihadists aren't Muslims at all but instead blasphemous apostates that per the dictates of Islam must be executed. The only role Muslim jihadists like Awlaki play is as facilitators, as Awlaki's sermons aren't any different from the sermons of other Imams that takes place in virtually every mosque around the world as the notion that so-called radicals only constitute a tiny minority of Muslims is a false and political correct paradigm constantly promoted by the lamestream press and their useful idiot writers.

    Radical Islam is much more than Al-Qaeda,

    Radical Islam is a political correct myth you moron! Indeed, there are several sects of MAINSTREAM ORTHODOX ISLAM, and, per the sixth and most important pillar of Islam, they all obligate EVERY MUSLIM to fight jihad in the cause of Allah against unbelievers to make Islam supreme.

    There is only one way to protect ourselves from the perpetual global jihad, and that is to ban and reverse mass Muslim immigration ASAP, because it is really stealth and deceptive non-violent jihad for the purpose of demographic conquest to make Islam supreme.

  • Questions

    For confirmation that the radical libertarian Right is as clueless as the hard Left, read Paul Craig Roberts' piece appearing today in http://www.lewrockwell.com. Roberts, a former Treasury Department official under Reagan, claims that by assassinating Awlaki, we have assassinated all of America. This website might as well serve as the estates general of the Ron Paul for President campaign.

    • sedoanman

      "Roberts … claims that by assassinating Awlaki, we have assassinated all of America."

      Hey, guess what, Mr. Roberts. I'm still alive, and I'm part of America. Everybody I have encountered since they smoked Awlaki, is still alive. I didn't see any bodies lying in the streets as I was out and about.

  • Suzanne

    For a long time now, I've noticed that I'm living in a nightmarish. inverted world. It's a world where people are not just unwilling, they are unable to identify right from wrong. For years now, our leadership has betrayed us with half hearted policies. Both parties, republican and democratic, will not defeat our enemies. Our enemies (Iran among others) sit day after day laughting at us. Our economy is out of control. Our homeland is not protected. Islamic clerics are all over our prisons. We welcome hordes of Muslims to immigrate, the list goes on and on. What is the matter with us? What's to become of us?

    • sedoanman

      "What is the matter with us? What's to become of us?"

      We have rejected truth when it conflicted with liberal ideology.

  • BLJ

    The turd should have got Onstar. Oh well a few more pieces of feces are taking dirt naps.

  • Roland

    Don't be certain that Ron Paul's friend is now ENJOYING his 72 virgins. He may well have them but I have it on good authority that they are all pathologically obese and never bathe,

  • WilliamJamesWard

    So just what is the caption for the above picture of Alwhacked…………
    "The head of the missile that went up my A– was this long"………..hope
    he enjoyed it……………………………………….

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    The article did miss to address the legitimacy of the targeted killing of those enemy combatants who were American citizens (even if despicable). The fact that this drastic action of the US government (this time) happened to serve a good purpose does not warrant unconditional applause.

    Fortunately it is not difficult to figure out, that while being abroad, certain actions of an American citizen may cause automatic waiver of his citizenship. Just look into your passport at item 13: Loss of US citizenship. Fighting with enemy combatants against US well fits it.

    As to Mr. Ron Paul, although this time his concerns about civil rights of islamic enemies happened to be legitimate, they fell flat at a closer look. His concerns look particularly betraying in the context of his other statements:

    - As though America is not exclusively Judeo-Christian nation;
    - As though islam has always been a part of American National identity;
    - As though it is OK if America turns into islamic nation in the frame of the 1st Amendment.

  • MAS

    Folks, you better take this seriously. The United States has just assassinated a citizen for essentially speaking his 1st Amendment rights. What will people say when they come for YOU because you said something they disagreed with? I personally think the guy was a scumbag and I'd love to see him be someone's bitch in prison, but he was still a citizen entitled to ALL the protections and guarantees of the Constitution and the rule of law.

    Once we start down this path, we are no better than the two-bit, tin-plated dictators we despise. People need to take their emotions out of this incident and think about where it could conceivably lead.

    • UCSPanther

      He was asassinated for murdering American citizens and aiding a entity hostile to the country he held citizenship of.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        Who did he murder?

  • DissolvetheUN

    I can't tell everyone how pleased I am that the niceties of killing an islamist scumbag who may or may not have been American, are being debated after he caught an air to ground up his sorry ass. No place for any such discussion before the subhuman turd on legs was vaporised.

    When he gets to hell I'd love to be there to hear him being told that his eternal punishment is never to be reconstructed from the million bits he was blown into.

  • maturin20

    This is wrong. Assassination is un-American and evil.

  • Ghostwriter

    To be honest,it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Awlaki was a psycho and he deserved that and more. I'm not going to shed any tears over that beast. Again,he deserved what he got.

  • pxxat5

    American Jihad fighter (The Predator Drone)… preach hate and violence aginst America, and it will find you, and follow you home to your rat hole anywhere in the world , you will feel the wrath of America's Fatwas as you die.

    Mr. Awlaki was not assassinated by the CIA, that is illegal, he was an American Citizen and entitled to "due Process". His death was "COLLATERAL DAMAGE", caused by the fog of War. Mr. Anwar Al Awlaki like so many other poor nieve young men, was in the "wrong place at the wrong time", riding in a car with a known Al-Qaeda operative.

    Thats called "plausible deniability" the POTUS and his administration does not understand Black OPs or the CIA's operating methods. It is their Charter to do illegal things for U.S., to lie, cheat, spy, steal, destabilize, over throw, and even "terminate with extreme prejudice" , what ever, whoever and whenever it is deemed to be a threat, or in our national interest. ( but not on American soil).