Lights Out for Al Qaeda’s Number Two

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 U.S. believes it has killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the second-in-command of Al Qaeda, in a drone strike in Waziristan, Pakistan on August 22. It is a painful loss for Al Qaeda, as his importance is arguably even greater than that of the group’s chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Obama administration will cite his death as evidence that the “strategic defeat” of Al Qaeda is near.

There is no firm confirmation of Rahman’s death. A Pakistani intelligence official confirmed to The Independent that Rahman has been killed. However, a Taliban commander in Pakistan insists, “It’s a fake story. It’s not true.” A Pakistani official in Peshawar has expressed doubts, claiming that no informants in the area could substantiate the reports. Rahman has been falsely reported as having been killed before, but the U.S. appears confident that he has been taken out.

Rahman was one of five terrorist leaders that the U.S. told Pakistan would be unilaterally targeted if it did not locate them by July. David Ignatius argues that Rahman was the most important Al Qaeda figure because “whatever thread still held al-Qaeda together passed from bin Laden through to Rahman.” He is not believed to have dealt with the details of individual operations, but he did work with Bin Laden on the general planning for a spectacular attack on the U.S. for the tenth anniversary of 9/11. He was the overall leader for Al Qaeda in the Pakistani tribal regions, and handled communication between Osama Bin Laden and his commanders.

The killing of Rahman complicates the “secret deal” that the Obama administration says has been struck between the Iranian regime and Al Qaeda. In July, the Treasury Department blacklisted Rahman for his role as a liaison between the two. Osama Bin Laden previously assigned him to serve as the terrorist group’s representative to Iran, and he has been free to come and leave Iran to serve in that capacity. He found safe harbor in Iran as early as 2003. Rahman oversaw the funneling of Al Qaeda money and personnel into Pakistan from Iran. Overall, this is the biggest blow to the terrorist group since the killing of Osama Bin Laden on May 1.

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  • The Infidel

    Are these guys actualy the "brains" or are they just the mouthpieces? who is getting the materials for these guys to make all their bombs, who is getting their weapons and ammo, who is their quatermasters? these are the guys who need going after IMVHO. Go after the supply chains, surely knocking them out will make it harder for the jihadists to work, no goods, no work.

    • Chezwick_mac

      You're basically referring to the ISI. Attacking the "supply chains" means literally attacking Pakistan's government. Such a move would be emotionally gratifying, but geo-politically speaking, it would complicate our lives significantly.

      Our relations with Pakistan remind me a lot of Mubarak in Egypt. He was playing a double-game, helping us in some respects, working against us in others. But facilitating his overthrow has worsened things in the region, particularly for Israel.

      So it is with Pakistan…they are bastards playing a double-game, but if we mis-manage the relationship, we could find ourselves pushing the Pakistanis into an implacably hostile posture, working against us in every field…including cutting off our supply routes to Afghanistan and proliferating nuclear know how and materials to other Islamic countries (essentially picking up where AQ Kahn left off).

      I'm all for commensurate reductions in aid to Pakistan to correspond to the level of their cooperation (or lack of) on a plethora of issues…and I'm all for an aggressive pursuit of the drone attacks on high-value targets in Pakistan, but I caution that we should be careful what we wish for. Like we're now seeing in post-Mubarak Egypt, there are outcomes in Pakistan that could be far worse than the present leadership.

      My inclination is a policy of carrot-and-stick, not one of total disregard. It's not very emotionally gratifying, but it's the prudent thing to do.

      • Jim_C

        Correct again Chezwick. As much as if might feel good to "get real" with some of our "friends" in that region, there are more important strategic reasons to hold their feet to the fire. One precious commodity we've gotten through these fraught relationships is intelligence–sometimes good, sometimes bad–but in the absence of any, where would we be? And it's clear that while there are some working against us, there are also those who want us to succeed.

      • jacob

        CHEZWICK:

        PERHAPS INDIA WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO TAKE OVER PAKISTAN

        • Chezwick_mac

          And take responsibility for that dysfunctional sh*thole?…and add 200 million Muslims to India's voter rolls?

          I think not.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    I hope they get Rahman Emmanuel next. He is terrorizing Chicago with curfews and wants a 2 year mandatory slave labor plan for all Americans. Can someone send a drone?

    • UCSPanther

      Wow. You are delusional.

  • Jim_C

    "The Obama administration will point to Rahman’s death as proof that the war on Al Qaeda will soon be victorious. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says, “We’re within reach of strategically defeating Al-Qaeda.” The administration believes it can “cripple Al-Qaeda as a threat to [the U.S.]” if 10 to 20 leaders can be arrested or killed. General David Petraeus​ and incoming director of the CIA likewise said, “It does hold the prospect of a strategic defeat, if you will, a strategic dismantling of Al-Qaeda.”

    Had the president been Republican? ah, there'd be much rejoicing on the pixillated pages of FPM, and multiple articles! But that's OK–at least there's this: FPM's way of saying "Thank you, President Obama, for once again striking a blow against our enemies and seeking justice for 9/11.

    • Frankwye

      Actually, its good that Obama is following up on the information that they got from the Osama kill. What is funny is that the Left doesn't think that this will help recruit more jihadists. So you think the Iran deal was a good deal?

      • Jim_C

        If we keep taking out AQ leadership, I'd say it's a pretty good disincentive from joining an organization whose leaders keep getting popped. Besides, with these guys and their ilk blowing up mosques in Saudi Arabia, I don't think they're winning too many friends. That righteous cache they had when they were doing penny ante stuff and acting tough just isn't there anymore.

        Then again, if you're inclined to join with these guys, there's probably not much that will change your mind, right?

        What do you mean a "good deal?"

    • Steve

      Had the President been Republican:

      * You and the Democrat (aka, liberal) media would be decrying these targeted assassinations, just as you do the few Israel carries out.
      * You'd consider this a war crime, especially when innocents get killed along with the guilty – just as you accuse Israel.
      * You'd be screaming about war in Libya without congressional consent being unconstitutional.

      Hypocrisy on the left knows no bounds.

  • Fred Dawes

    Listen to Alex Jones and savage Nation. ask who really setup Al Qaeda and who is working for who?

  • g_jochnowitz

    We can rejoice that the danger of Rahman has been eliminated. Israel, on the other hand, apparently did not dare to save the world from the danger of Haniyeh. Israel is desperately eager to preserve whatever remnants there are of its peace treaty with Egypt. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/rep

  • BLJ

    Another Islamist lowlifes takes a dirt nap. Always warms the cuckolds of my heart. I am sure another #2 (nice nickname for them by the way) will take his place.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    At the risk of seeming greedy, could we get on with #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10,
    and on through………..#999,000,000 roasted and toasted with hell fire missiles,
    while understanding that colateral damage will be a good thing as all of the potential
    suicide bombers will have exploded at home. We need to get this on and over.
    William

  • NMM18
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