Nasir al-Wuhayshi

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Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi
Nasir al-Wuhayshi.jpg
Nasir al-Wuhayshi addressing a large gathering of AQAP militants in March 2014.
Nickname(s) Abu Basir
Born (1976-10-01) October 1, 1976 (age 38)[1]
Yemen[2]
Allegiance Al-Qaeda
Service/branch Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Rank Emir
Battles/wars

War on Terror

Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi (also transliterated as Naser al-Wahishi, Nasser al-Wuhayshi), alias Abu Basir,[3] is a citizen of Yemen and the leader of the Islamist militant group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[4][5][6] Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen consider al-Wuhayshi to be among their most wanted fugitives.[7][8] In October 2014, the U.S State Department increased the reward for any information leading to the capture or killing of al-Wuhayshi to U.S $10 million, the same as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.[9]

Early life[edit]

Nasir al-Wuhayshi served as secretary to Osama bin Laden for years in Afghanistan.[10][11] He left Afghanistan in 2001 and was soon arrested by Iranian authorities, who handed him over to his native Yemen two years later where he was imprisoned without charges.[12] In February 2006, Nasir al-Wuhayshi was one of 23 Yemeni captives who escaped from custody from a maximum security prison in Sana'a.[3][10][11][13]

Emir of AQAP[edit]

Al-Wuhayshi became the leader of al-Qaeda's Yemeni operations after the former leader was killed in a US Predator drone strike in 2002.[11] His authority seems to derive mostly from his long proximity to Osama bin Laden.[12] In January 2009, the Al-Qaeda branches in Yemen and Saudi Arabia merged and formed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Ayman Al-Zawahiri confirmed al-Wuhayshi's appointment as leader of AQAP in a video posted online.[7]

Nasir al-Wuhayshi and three other men appeared in several threatening videos released in January 2009.[14] Al Wuhayshi published an additional video calling for violence in February.[15] He claimed the increase in western warships off the Horn of Africa to fight piracy were really intended to oppress Islam.[16] According to Yemeni military officials he was killed in southern Yemen on August 28, 2011.[17] On Oct. 25, 2011, AQAP denied that he was killed.[18]

On December 6, al-Wuhayshi released a statement on jihadist websites that AQAP would be intervening in the Siege of Dammaj on the side of Salafi students fighting the Shi'a Houthi militia.[19] A member of a local tribe reported on December 22 that Abdel al-Wuhashi, a younger brother of Nasir, was killed by Yemeni military forces.[20]

In 2013, Al-Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahiri appointed al-Wuhayshi as his deputy, speculating that he may be the next Emir of Al-Qaeda.[21][22]

In March 2014, al-Wuhayshi made an appearance in a video celebrating the mass jailbreak of fighters held in Yemeni prisons. Around 400 AQAP fighters were present in what was described as being the largest known gathering of al Qaeda in Yemen. In the video, al-Wuhayshi declared "We have to remove the Cross, and the bearer of the Cross, America."[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nasir al-Wahishi". Retrieved December 2014. 
  2. ^ Kurczy, Stephen (2010-11-02). "Five key members of Al Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP)". csmonitor.com. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  3. ^ a b El Deeb, Sarah (29 December 2009). "Inspired by bin Laden, Al-Qaida in Arabian Peninsula seeks to expand operations beyond Yemen". The Canadian Press (The Canadian Press). Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Gregory D. Johnsen (9 November 2007). "Al Qaeda's generational split". Boston Globe. Retrieved 26 January 2009.  mirror
  5. ^ "2 tourists dead in attack in Yemen". International Herald Tribune. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  6. ^ Thomas Hegghammer (2009-01-24). "Saudi and Yemeni Branches of al-Qaida Unite". Jihadica. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  mirror
  7. ^ a b "Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula". Al Jazeera. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  8. ^ Michael, Maggie; Ahmed al-Haj (2009). "Report: Ex-Gitmo Detainee Joins Al-Qaida in Yemen". ABC News (ABC News Internet Ventures). The Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-12-30. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is an umbrella group of various cells. Its current leader is Yemen's most wanted fugitive Naser Abdel Karim al-Wahishi 
  9. ^ "Rewards for Justice - Reward Offers for Information on Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Leaders". Retrieved December 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Raghavan, Sudarsan (2009-12-28). "Al-Qaeda group in Yemen gaining prominence". Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  11. ^ a b c Black, Ian (2008-07-30). "Yemen terrorism: Soft approach to jihadists starts to backfire as poverty fuels extremism". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  12. ^ a b Robert F. Worth, "Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan?" New York Times (6 July 2010).
  13. ^ Gregory D. Johnsen (2007-07-10). "Yemen Attack Reveals Struggle Among Al-Qaeda's Ranks" 4 (22). Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  mirror
  14. ^ "Two ex-Guantanamo inmates appear in Al-Qaeda video". Agence France Presse. 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  mirror
  15. ^ "New al-Qaida message urges Yemenis to fight gov't". Associated Press. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2009-04-05.  mirror
  16. ^ "Al-Qaeda leader urges Yemeni tribes to rise up against government". Earth Times. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2009-03-05. In an audiotape posted on Islamist web sites, al-Wahishi linked the clampdown on Jihadists in five desert provinces to the deployment of Western navy forces in the Gulf of Aden to fight piracy. "The parties have gathered in the land of faith and wisdom. French, British and Western crusaders, have come to the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden to surround the Island of Islam (Arabian Peninsula) from the sea," al-Wahishi said.  mirror
  17. ^ Roggio, Bill (2011-08-28). "AQAP chief Nasir al Wuhayshi reported killed in southern Yemen". The Long War Journal. Public Multimedia Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  18. ^ Roggio, Bill (2011-10-26). "AQAP denies emir Nasir al Wuhayshi killed in US airstrike". longwarjournal.org. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  19. ^ "Gulf of Aden Security Review - December 6, 2011". criticalthreats.org. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  20. ^ "Most Popular E-mail Newsletter". USA Today. 2011-12-22. 
  21. ^ "Rewards for Justice - Reward Offers for Information on Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Leaders". January 19, 2010. Retrieved December 2014. 
  22. ^ "Al Qaeda leaders 'wanted to do something big' on Muslim holiday, sources say". Retrieved December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Al Qaeda's Second-In-Command Vows To Strike America In New Video". Retrieved December 2014.