Brother of dead Al Qaeda number two: These drone strikes certainly are inhumane

Note that he’s not complaining here on behalf of civilians killed in the drone strikes, nor is he claiming that his brother’s been falsely accused of being a top-flight AQ propagandist. (That’d be hard to do given the number of al-Libi videos floating around.) In fact, he seems to be more offended by the way in which al-Libi was killed than the fact that he was killed in the first place.

Second look at SEALs shooting Al Qaeda leaders in the face instead?

“The United States talks human rights and freedoms for all, but the method they used to kill him is savage,” Abu Bakr al-Qayed, brother of al-Libi, told Reuters on Wednesday in a telephone interview.

“The way the Americans killed him is heinous and inhumane,” he said, speaking from the town of Wadi Otba, south of the Libyan capital. “We are in the 21st century and they claim to be civilized and this is how they take out people.”

“Regardless of my brother’s ideology, or beliefs, he was a human being and at the end of the day deserves humane treatment,” he said…

“I never heard him speak of killing innocent people and don’t believe he would ever condone it. He was a Muslim, and we don’t kill people without reason.”

He wasn’t pressed to define “innocent” but we can get a pretty good sense of how al-Libi defined it from a few of the recent terror plots targeting NYC that were broken up by the FBI.

Officials also said al-Libi gave orders to terrorist Bryant Neal Vinas, who later scouted the Long Island Rail Road for a possible terror attack…

During this year’s subway bomb trial, admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi testified that he and his fellow plotters attended a terror trainingcamp in Pakistan where Al-Libi’s videos were played to inspire them to carry out an attack. And Vinas testified at the same trial that he personally met with al-Libi before returning to the U.S. to scout possible targets

Intelligence officials said he actively reached out to al-Qaida affiliates across the globe to encourage terror strikes. Inside Pakistan, security officials said he played a direct role in a suicide bombing that targeted the Danish embassy in Islamabad.

CBS describes al-Libi as effectively Al Qaeda’s COO, the guy who ran the organization on behalf of Bin Laden and then Zawahiri and who might have been “the last commander within the organization with this level of management capability.” So important was he that some counterterror experts think the power vacuum actually might cause an increase in attacks as lower-level commanders freed from his authority try to prove their mettle by hatching their own plots. Yemen’s the likeliest proving ground, but there’s a growing jihadist base in Mali and the increasing possibility of one springing up in Syria as Assad’s grip on internal security slips. For a guy whose brother couldn’t imagine him condoning the murder of innocents, he sure does seem to have had a lot of influence over people who kill innocents.

Oh, and he wasn’t nearly as horrified at the prospect of dying in a drone attack as his brother is:

In early 2008, Abu Yahya al-Libi was making the perilous cross-border journey into Afghanistan from his base in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal badlands. The al Qaeda ideologue was on his way to Khost province, hoping to rally al Qaeda and Taliban fighters there. But as his group crossed the dangerous and rugged frontier, the normally garrulous and upbeat Libyan grew quiet and seemed almost depressed, according to a senior Taliban intelligence officer who was with him. Sensing the mood change, the Afghan asked al-Libi what was wrong. “I don’t want to be killed by Pakistani or Afghan puppet soldiers of America,” the Libyan said. “If I die as a martyr, I want to be killed by the explosives and forces of the worst enemy of Islam, the U.S.”

Al-Libi’s wish has finally been granted.

Follow that last link to the Daily Beast and read the whole piece, as it’s a useful look at how well regarded al-Libi was by the jihadis who followed him. There’s really little doubt that he would have become the new leader of Al Qaeda once Zawahiri was gone, and given his propaganda skill and his operational knowledge — the Beast calls him the “general manager” of Al Qaeda — he might very well have been better at it than either Zawahiri or Bin Laden.