Despite the warnings of my better angels, I couldn’t resist a quick read through of the Nasir al-Wahayshi interview posted to jihadi sites. What can I say, for me a new al-Qaeda in Yemen document is like a red flag to a bull. Anyway, I was most interested in Sha’a’s description and the interview before the interview.
His description further confirms at least to me what I have been thinking for a while. Namely, that al-Wahayshi is self-consciously modeling himself on Usama bin Ladin, particularly in the way he presents himself to outsiders, which I think was evident in the January video as well as this interview, which took place at roughly the same time. Note for instance the food and drink presented to Sha’a as well as al-Wahayshi’s comment about the generally poor coverage of al-Qaeda by the news media.
I have only glanced over the text of the interview, and a full reading will have to wait a couple of weeks (or so I say now) but I don’t expect to find much new information from what was published on al-Jazeera and other news outlets back in January.
The release, however, does beg two questions. First, why release this now? Second, al-Qaeda certainly has not been inactive while everything has been going on in the south, so what is the next move, and how will it react in the up-coming issue of Sada al-Malahim, which is due out later this month?