Alwaki Tribe Denies Statement
The Sheik of the Awlaki tribe in Yemen denied that tribal leaders held a meeting or threatened Yemeni citizens as is being widely reported in the Western media.
Reuters reported receiving a faxed statement last week from the Awalki tribe that said, “We warn against cooperating with America to kill Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki” after the Obama administration announced that it authorized operations to kill or capture Anwar Awlaki, who holds duel Yemeni American citizenship.
News Yemen, a reliable independent news website, interviewed the head of the Awlaki tribe, Sheik bin Fafeed, who denied an official statement was issued. “We haven’t held any meeting of our tribe regarding Anwar Awalki. What has been published doesn’t reflect our tribe’s attitude,” the Sheik said
Sheik bin Fareed said his tribe is loyal to the government, and that they are working to keep their tribe from becoming embroiled in any acts of violence or revenge. “We can’t let government down,” he said.
Sheik bin Fareed added that the responsibility for the arrest of Anwar Awalaki lies with the government’s forces, not the tribe’s, saying, “We don’t know where Awlaki is. The government is the one who knows where Anwar Awlaki is and is capable to arrest him, because she is responsible for that.”
Reuters reported the “heavily armed” al-Awaliq tribe warned it would “not remain with arms crossed if a hair of Anwar al-Awlaqi is touched, or if anyone plots or spies against him.” The purported statement also said that tribal leaders held a meeting and denounced “the reckless act by the U.S. government to allow the killing of the brave sheikh.”
Reuters employs President Saleh’s personal translator as a stringer in Yemen, and its reporting is often biased in favor of the Yemeni government.
Yemen was aptly described by the LA Times as “a surreal world of spin, lies and propaganda (that) makes one wonder if reality exists at all in this cruel and beautiful land.” The Saleh regime reported the death of Ammar Al Waeli in January. Al Waeli was later spotted recruiting for al Al Qaeda in the war torn northern Sa’ada governorate. Al Qaeda leader Qasim al Reimi was also reported dead, three times, although he is not.
Awlaki is noted as al Qaeda’s primary propagandist to the English speaking world. In a 2010 audio, Awlaki urged American Muslims to commit jihad against the US. Awlaki has been in contact with several English speakers who later committed violent acts, including Nidal Hassan, Farouk Abdulmatallab and Sharif Mobley. Awlaki is relatively unknown in Yemen. His father is an ally of President Saleh and previously held the posts of Agriculture Minister and head of Sana’a University. Yemeni authorities have described Anwar Awlaki as a preacher not a terrorist.
Awlaki is thought to have become an operational al Qaeda cultist after his release from jail in 2007. The independent al Tagheer reported that Awlaki returned to Shabwa and “started preaching to people in the mosque every Friday and began to recognize a group of young people and meet them.” USS Cole bomber Fahd al Quso lives in the same area of Shabwa. Al Quso was convicted in Yemeni court and sentenced to ten years in jail. The 2000 terror attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden killed 17 US service members and wounded 49. Al Quso was released after three years in prison, despite having escaped once.
On Dec. 24, Yemeni warplanes, using U.S. intelligence help, bombed a meeting of senior al-Qaida figures at al Quso’s farm. Awlaki and other al-Qaida top leaders left the meeting hours before the strike giving rise to speculation that they were tipped off by compromised elements within the Saleh regime.