Al-Qaeda Second in Command “Dead”
According to CIA officials, al Qaeda’s number two man – Atiyah Abd al-Rahman – has been killed in a drone attack in the mountainous region of Waziristan, Pakistan. Pakistani officials were only notified that Rahman was a target, after the kill on August 22, 2011. (NY Times) This news came out only a day after federal prosecutors declared the Christmas Day underwear bomber confessed to working for the same terrorist organization.
On an online militant forum, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman described the organization with surprising modesty: “al Qaeda is a simple part of the efforts of the jihadi Ummah (nation), so do not think of them to be more than they are. We all should know our abilities and to try to cooperate in goodness, piety and jihad in the Cause of Allah; everyone in his place and with whatever they can and what is suitable to them.” (Reuters) Rahman, a Libyan citizen was reportedly well-connected within the al Qaeda network and freely moved between Iran and Pakistan in the months before Osama bin Laden’s death.
(Photo credit: BBC)
The United States still perceives al Qaeda as its number one threat to national security. An anonymous U.S. official stated, “The trove of materials from Bin Laden's compound showed clearly that Atiyah was deeply involved in directing al-Qaeda's operations even before the raid. He had multiple responsibilities in the organization and will be very difficult to replace.” (BBC) Proclaimed as a leader that may take over the terrorist operation after bin Laden’s death, the Western World is taking a sigh of relief that another terrorist is dead. However, while the West focuses on the impossible battle of fighting world terrorism, it ignores the impact of a potential war between Pakistan and India and the glaring nuclear threat of North Korea.
That said; the Obama administration is still dedicated to dismantling the dying organization and according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, that goal is within reach. Drone strikes will continue in countries harboring terrorists, including Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The next targets on the list are Ayman al-Zawahri, Saif al-Adl, and Abu Yahya al-Libi. (Reuters)
Al Qaeda Leader Rahman has been reported dead several times previously. Whether Americans believe this announcement, as well as bin Laden’s death, is an entirely different matter.