Riyadh the facilitator

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Riyadh, alternately Riad, alternately Riyadh the facilitator, is a pseudonym that was given to a number of individuals who were suspected to be member of al-Qaeda. American intelligence officials and the press used the pseudonym for at least two individuals.[1][2][3]

In an interview with National Public Radio Douglas Cox, a law Professor at City University of New York stated that one of his clients who was a Guantanamo detainee, Riyadh al-Haigh, was suspected by American intelligence officials of being Riyadh the facilitator.[4]

Human rights groups, and other media used the pseudonym in connection with a man who was held in the CIA network of clandestine interrogation centers. Human Rights Watch identified the man as Abdul Rahim al-Sharqawi and other media identified him as Abdu Ali Sharqawi.[5] Human Rights Watch continued to believe he was held in CIA custody into 2005.[6]

According to an article published in US News and World Report in May 2003 a man called Riyadh was "responsible for managing al Qaeda's affairs in Pakistan".[7] They reported he was captured in Karachi in January 2002. They reported that he was the first senior al Qaeda member to be captured, and that his capture lead to a chain of captures that included Abu Zubaydah, Jose Padilla, Omar al Farouq, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Some of their findings are based on unnamed intelligence sources.


  1. ^ "Fate and whereabouts unknown: Detainees in the "War on Terror"" (PDF). Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2010-09-255. The U.S. did not confirm custody of al-Shaqawi in the 9-11 Commission Report. However, some media reports refer to al-Sharqawi as being “known to be in custody” in a context which suggests that this is U.S. custody.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "Disappearing Act: Rendition by the Numbers". Mother Jones. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  3. ^ "LIST OF 12 operatives held in CIA prisons". ABC News. 2005-12-05. Retrieved 2010-09-25. Abdul Rahim al-Sharqawi: Held in Poland 
  4. ^ Noah Adams (2007-04-05). "Exhibit Brings detainees 'pictures from home'". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2010-09-30. : Riyadh al-Haj(ph) was arrested for being a nurse in a Taliban-run hospital. At first, the Americans mistook him for the Taliban's foremost accountant, a man called Riyadh the Facilitator. The Americans finally found and arrested the real Riyadh the Facilitator, but the government continues to hold this Riyadh, Riyadh the Taliban nurse, as an enemy combatant anyway. This outrages Cox and Havens. 
  5. ^ Andy Worthington (2008-01-07). "Footsoldiers, Missionaries, Humanitarian Aid Workers: Who Are the Gitmo Saudis?". Counterpunch magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-25. Also known as Riyadh the Facilitator, Sharqawi is a supposedly "high-value" detainee, described as "part of the al-Qaeda network responsible for moving Arabs to and from Afghanistan." Subjected to "extraordinary rendition" after his capture, he was sent to Jordan, to be "interrogated" by the Americans' proxy torturers in the Jordanians' notorious General Intelligence Department prison in Amman, where, he said, he was tortured continuously. 
  6. ^ "List of "Ghost Prisoners" Possibly in CIA Custody: List of Detainees Published by Human Rights Watch". Human Rights Watch. 2005-11-30. Retrieved 2010-09-25. Abdul Rahim al-Sharqawi (aka Riyadh the facilitator) Reportedly arrested in January 2002 Possibly Yemeni, suspected al-Qaeda member (possibly transferred to Guantanamo). 
  7. ^ David E. Kaplan (2003-05-25). "Playing Offense: The inside story of how U.S. terrorist hunters are going after al Qaeda". US News and World Report. Retrieved 2010-09-25. "It began with Riyadh the Facilitator. Little is known about the man, whom Pakistani forces seized in Karachi in January 2002. Responsible for managing al Qaeda's affairs in Pakistan, he is one of a handful of important operatives about whom U.S. officials have released virtually no information. During the war, allied troops in Afghanistan nabbed a pair of middle managers, but Riyadh was the first field commander captured after 9/11. "Riyadh was a serious logistician," says an intelligence source. He was also the first link in a chain that would lead from one al Qaeda leader to another.