Report: Al Qaeda number two, Abu Yahya al-Libi, may have been killed in drone strike

posted at 8:40 pm on June 4, 2012 by Allahpundit

This guy’s been evading America for years. Believe it or not, we once had him in custody: He escaped from Bagram in 2005, was thought killed in a drone strike in 2009 before U.S. intel realized they had the wrong man, and has been working his way up the AQ food chain ever since.

Supposedly he’s now number two to Zawahiri. Or, perhaps, “was”:

If true, it would be the United States government’s greatest gain against Al Qaeda since Navy SEALs killed Bin Laden in Abbottabad last year.

“People are looking very closely to see whether he’s still alive,” said one American official who was monitoring intelligence reports, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It’ll take some time for people to gain a high level of confidence that he’s dead. But he’s No. 2 in Al Qaeda, and this would be a major blow.”…

A resident of the Mir Ali area, citing militant sources and speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he believed that Mr. Libi was in the compound in Hassu Khel when the attack occurred. He said Mr. Libi had been lightly injured in a drone strike on May 28 and had been moved to the compound to recuperate.

The resident said he could not be sure if Mr. Libi had been killed or injured. A senior Pakistani security source in Peshawar said it “looks like he has been killed.”

The rapid, er, “turnover” at the top of AQ these days often makes it hard to tell how important a given drone target really was to the organization, but there’s no doubt about al-Libi. He’s been mentioned as part of the inner circle for years and occasionally has been accused of being a rival to Zawahiri — which, if true, must have made the dynamic between them lately as numbers one and two pretty darned interesting. Because of his roots, al-Libi also posed a special threat in potentially making Libya safe for Al Qaeda. In fact, he allegedly belonged to the same jihadist outfit — the LIFG — that Libyan militia leader turned politico Abdel Hakim Belhaj belonged to. Assuming he’s dead, that’s one less degenerate alliance the west has to worry about.

The way the U.S. targeted him is interesting too. This wasn’t a case of a single strike out of the blue. This was three in a row, at least one of which apparently targeted a group mourning the victims of the first strike:

Rockets fired from a US drone killed between eight and 15 people in north-west Pakistan on Monday, officials have said in varying accounts. It is the third strike in as many days after attacks on Saturday and Sunday killed a total of 12 people.

The latest strike targeted a militant hideout in the Hesokhel village of the North Waziristan tribal region, officials said.

US drones hit targets in the South Waziristan tribal region on Saturday and Sunday. There have been a total of seven strikes in less than two weeks.

Remember, according to the recent NYT bombshell on Obama’s command of the drone program, the CIA “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.” No one knows, in other words, how many of the 27 targeted this weekend were actual combatants or just local young men. I also wonder how specific their intel was on al-Libi’s location. They may have had reason to believe he was close by without knowing exactly where. In that case, after they ordered the first strike and got a tip from on the ground that he wasn’t hit, they might have assumed that he’d show up at the funeral party for the first group of suspected jihadis targeted. No way to know for sure, obviously, but one of the other takeaways from that Times scoop was that Obama will order a strike even if civilians are thought to be in the danger zone if the target is big enough. That’s how they got Baitullah Mehsud, who was with his wife at the time. Maybe their intel on al-Libi was good enough that they were willing to target groups encompassing nearly 30 people, even if there was a fair chance that civilians were among them, in order to try to take him out. Then again, if their intel was that solid, they’d probably have a better idea at this point whether they got him or not, no?


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Pictures, or it didn’t happen.

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Dead fish? Or it didn’t happen. ; )

Bmore on June 4, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Drone strikes OK by Obama and the libs (I like em myself), but scaring, shouting at and watersporting terrorists is a no go.
Dems make great umpires.

arnold ziffel on June 4, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Pictures, or it didn’t happen.

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Osama dat too?

profitsbeard on June 4, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Each assassination of a high-ranking al Qaida official reminds me of the beginning of the British spy series, “The Prisoner.”

“Who are you?”
“The new Number 2″

aunursa on June 4, 2012 at 8:46 PM

We can’t just be air raiding villages…

tom daschle concerned on June 4, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Isn’t it the #3 spot that is continually need of replacing?

Blake on June 4, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Remember, according to the recent NYT bombshell on Obama’s command of the drone program, the CIA “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.” No one knows, in other words, how many of the 27 targeted this weekend were actual combatants or just local young men.

Not that I care too much about such things, but it is interesting how the phrase “civilian casualties” seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird ever since Zero took over the White House.

Bitter Clinger on June 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Drone strikes OK by Obama and the libs (I like em myself), but scaring, shouting at and watersporting terrorists is a no go.
Dems make great umpires.

arnold ziffel on June 4, 2012 at 8:45 PM

and they cheer it on to boot.

CW on June 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Abu Yahya al-Libi, may have been killed in drone strike

He shouldn’t have been riding a steer in Oklahoma.

BacaDog on June 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM

As far as I’m concerned, they’re all #2.

Flange on June 4, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Chalk another one up for the man in control of the man with the joystick.

As for our forces that did all the work and deserve all of the credit,

Ooh Rah!

CTSherman on June 4, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Burn, baby, burn.

Philly on June 4, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Poor Robert Wagner!

["WHO DOES NUMBER TWO WORK FOR??"]

DarthBrooks on June 4, 2012 at 8:52 PM

arnold ziffel on June 4, 2012 at 8:45 PM

I think there’s a correlation to abortion. The 40′ poll, if I didn’t see it, I don’t have anything to concern myself about way of thinking…

Drone strikes distance Obama, liberals and others from the killing. Done by a machine, controlled by a person hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. The results visible as a black and white, photo negative image.

Liberals don’t want to humanize the unborn unless they want that unborn child. Don’t show them pictures. Don’t describe the unborn human, more so how it’s killed. Don’t see it and they can more easily assuage their conscience, or at least justify their beliefs.

The drone strikes may indeed be a reasonable way of war. Certainly a natural culmination or at least inevitability. But again, I can see how many liberals would like it. It’s a machine. The mark isn’t in front of you. One or more less boots have to be on the ground. Etc.

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM

.

Then again, if their intel was that solid,

That would be Paki intel right? Have to trust the Pakis right? They won’t lie about this right?

If true, would he be a mole worth 50 or 60 points?

BL@KBIRD on June 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Score!

Good Lt on June 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Splat.

Bruno Strozek on June 4, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Guess his face was on the baseball card this week.

joadard on June 4, 2012 at 8:54 PM

was thought killed in a drone strike in 2009 before U.S. intel realized they had the wrong man

…so who died?

Maybe their intel on al-Libi was good enough that they were willing to target groups encompassing nearly 30 people, even if there was a fair chance that civilians were among them, in order to try to take him out.

…but…butt…Bush waterboarded! Cheney waterboarded!

KOOLAID2 on June 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Jawa Report was on this with news of the strike this morning, and a follow-up post identifying Yahya as the target, presumably ‘sploded. He was always special to the Jawas.

If we actually got him, it is a BFD.

novaculus on June 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Osama dat too?

profitsbeard on June 4, 2012 at 8:46 PM

He’s a bit of a different story. He was the big target and there was enough about it in the news that it’s fairly reasonable to assume that he is indeed dead. With as much football spiking as Mr. Obama has done over Osama’s watery grave, Barack cannot afford at all for Bin Laden to be alive, even whisked away on an equivalent of St. Helena.

I can understand why the Obama administration has refused to show Bin Laden’s death photos, but frankly I find it a bit limp. It highlights who the individual is that sits in the West Wing. A bit of a poseur.

Show the photos. We’ve seen photos of Qaddafi, Saddam, his sons and Zarqawi. The world can stomach seeing Bin Laden’s picture. And if it offends a certain portion of the world? Stuff it.

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Guess his face was on the baseball card this week.

joadard on June 4, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I still have a deck somewhere in my stash of memorabilia.

I wonder if the military still does it, make new decks that is?

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Until we fnd the balls to undermine & discredit Islam itself, we’re just playing Whack-A-Mole.

OhioCoastie on June 4, 2012 at 9:06 PM

find*

OhioCoastie on June 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

OhioCoastie on June 4, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Like Hercules verses the hydra, until he figured out that he needed to burn the stumps.

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Abu Yahya al-Libi, may have been killed in drone strike

Where do they come up with these names?

Rio Linda Refugee on June 4, 2012 at 9:19 PM

The guy LOOKS like an Al Qaeda number two. So to speak.

crosspatch on June 4, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Time for a 2nd Nobel Piece Prize!

philw1776 on June 4, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Come to think if it, aren’t they ALL Al Qaeda number twos?

crosspatch on June 4, 2012 at 9:23 PM

What happened to that man in Pakistan who supposedly helped the U.S. to locate Bin Laden? I’m talking about the one who was going to be tried for treason for helping . Did we just abandon him?

ansonia on June 4, 2012 at 9:42 PM

No one knows, in other words, how many of the 27 targeted this weekend were actual combatants or just local young men.

Kill lists are sooooo much more humane than rendition and Gitmo.

John the Libertarian on June 4, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Oblamer in Chief has to kill them, cause he doesnt want them interrogated.

anikol on June 4, 2012 at 9:45 PM

And we swallowed the cover story about fundraisers. This is also why he hasn’t gone to Wisconsin, HE’S BIN BUSY!

slickwillie2001 on June 4, 2012 at 9:47 PM

He is considering changing his name to OBLAMMO!

crosspatch on June 4, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Firing a missile into his cranium is definitely more civilized than dunking it under water.

stout77 on June 4, 2012 at 9:55 PM

These big fish are killed every week yet somehow they managed to kill more Americans in Afghanistan last month than any other May in the entire 12 year war.

Wigglesworth on June 4, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Again….just to be clear:

Republicans + Drones = end of world

Democrats + Drones + Targeted Killings = good

It’s really getting tough to keep up with liberal and MSM logic.

Tim_CA on June 4, 2012 at 10:01 PM

So when is Oslo going to demand the return of Barry’s “Peace Prize”?

GarandFan on June 4, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Pretty simple retirement plans for these savages.

justltl on June 4, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Probably not much talk about 401Ks around the old water cooler.

justltl on June 4, 2012 at 10:13 PM

The last thing that went through his mind was a 20 pound chunk of cinderblock.

Tim_CA on June 4, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Where do they come up with these names?

Rio Linda Refugee on June 4, 2012 at 9:19 PM

I have a funny thought, but I fear the ban hammer. Never fear, nothing sexual or gross, just tacky.

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 10:26 PM

So when is Oslo going to demand the return of Barry’s “Peace Prize”?

GarandFan on June 4, 2012 at 10:06 PM

…they’ll give him the twin!

KOOLAID2 on June 4, 2012 at 10:27 PM

happened or didn’t happen but I’ll watch / and or battle them in the nethers.

amend2 on June 4, 2012 at 11:09 PM

He looks just like Mumia. I call foul.

CorporatePiggy on June 4, 2012 at 11:17 PM

No place to hide. Good by me.

MTF on June 4, 2012 at 11:18 PM

It’s good I suppose but when they come for me, i hope it is man to man.

Fuquay Steve on June 4, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Probably not much talk about 401Ks around the old water cooler.

justltl on June 4, 2012 at 10:13 PM

No, no, no… It’s the virgins, man, the VIRGINS!!!

climbnjump on June 4, 2012 at 11:48 PM

I wonder if we’re getting to the point of intentionally missing with the first couple of drones so that the expression on the target’s face is more amusing on the “score”.

cthulhu on June 5, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Just great. Now we will have to hear barack saying how he got Osama and now he got number two. Well I feel safer now.

DuctTapeMyBrain on June 5, 2012 at 12:12 AM

Again….just to be clear:

Republicans + Drones = end of world

Democrats + Drones + Targeted Killings = good

It’s really getting tough to keep up with liberal and MSM logic.

Tim_CA on June 4, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Again, just to be clear:

2008 BHO = “We are just creating more terrorists”

2012 BHO = “I am the destroyer of worlds, I am become death”

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 5, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Austin Powers: “Who’s number two? Who’s number two?

Mojave Mark on June 5, 2012 at 5:10 AM

Everybody is Number 2 at Al Qaeda.

albill on June 5, 2012 at 6:37 AM

Logus on June 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM

you trying to hijack the thread or something? Seems to me a very simple reason that admin likes the drone strikes- you get to kill your enemy with and extremely low risk to the lives of your own men. Sounds like an win win to me.

The Libs always made a big deal about how many americans died in the “unjust” war as if it were unjust because americans died. Now they apparently can sleep at night while our enemies are destroyed by way of drone strikes. I’ll take it. In the end they are doves, I know, but we’ll get a hawk in there soon enough.

beselfish on June 5, 2012 at 6:51 AM

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 5, 2012 at 12:57 AM

It is this kind of “governing” by the Won that has me thinking that he was exactly right when he said that “this is our time, this is the time when we begin to heal…”

It is from almost the beginning of his presidency that more and more americans have come to appreciate the idea of limited government. He HAS been the antidote for what has kept people aimlessly accepting the same-old same-old in government. His poison has worked as an elixir for our country.

beselfish on June 5, 2012 at 7:13 AM

Because there’s clearly no difference between killing combatant’s in the field and torturing them in custody.

plewis on June 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Not that I care too much about such things, but it is interesting how the phrase “civilian casualties” seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird ever since Zero took over the White House.

Bitter Clinger on June 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM

A lot of people, myself included, predicted that happening the very day Obama won the election. Not that it was an amazing revelation, really…

MelonCollie on June 5, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Man, the chiropractors must be cleaning up in Pakistan, with all these terrorists walking around looking at the sky. It must look like tourist season in Manhattan, “Oh look, honey, there’s another one!”

walkingboss on June 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Everybody is Number 2 at Al Qaeda.

albill on June 5, 2012 at 6:37 AM

lol….Is that a poopie joke?

Tim_CA on June 5, 2012 at 10:53 AM