Someone Doesn’t Want the Sanaa Embassy Storming Investigated

I have hesitated to comment on this Thomas Joscelyn piece, which basically plays a game of Six Degrees of Osama bin Laden to suggest al Qaeda “was responsible” for all the attacks on US diplomatic locations last month. Partly, Joscelyn pulled together such a hodge podge of speculation, claims that have already been debunked, and tangential ties, it didn’t seem worth it. Partly, using Joscelyn’s standard of evidence we’d have “proof” that the right wingers who made the Muslim Innocence movie were in cahoots with al Qaeda.

But I confess I did hope someone was nearby to give Joscelyn smelling salts when this news first started breaking: a Yemeni security employee at the US Embassy in Sanaa (at one point reported to be in charge of security there) was killed today, using tactics that made the murder look like an AQAP hit.

Of course, the murder makes it likely that neither the murder nor the storming of the Embassy–which was apparently aided by insiders–were committed by al Qaeda. That’s because the victim, Qassem Aqlani, was likely killed because he was investigating the storming of the Embassy.

Aqlani had been working for the U.S. Embassy for nearly 20 years, said the officials who spoke to the AP condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Most recently, he was in charge of investigating a Sept. 12 assault on the U.S. Embassy by angry Yemeni protesters over the anti-Islam film.

Protesters stormed the embassy and set fire to a U.S. flag before government forces dispersed them with tear gas.

As Gregory Johnsen notes today, AQAP usually claims credit when their attacks are successful. And while they might have reason to claim credit for the storming of the Embassy but still kill the guy investigating it (to hide the insiders they’ve recruited), it seems more likely that both events have been made to look like AQAP to give someone else cover (something Yemen-based lawyer Haykal Bafana was joking about yesterday).

Of course, it’s possible that the culprit is someone–perhaps someone close to Ali Abdullah Saleh–who has convenient ties to AQAP figures, but who is operating to serve a different power.

There’s some weird shit going down in the Middle East–and I definitely include Syria in this–and I think we all risk oversimplifying when we jump to conclusions who is pulling the strings.

All that said, there is an uncomfortable tie to Benghazi. In yesterday’s hearing Charlene Lamb pointed to our Embassy security in Sanaa as an optimal form of cooperation with locals. I figured the second she said it, she would live to regret the comment, if for no other reason than the storming of the Embassy the day after the Benghazi attack. Sadly, I didn’t expect someone with a key role in that cooperative security would be targeted for his cooperative role.

Update: Yemen-based journalist Adam Baron says Aqlani had nothing to do with the investigation into the storming last month.

9 replies
  1. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    “…using Joscelyn’s standard of evidence we’d have “proof” that the right wingers who made the Muslim Innocence movie were in cahoots with al Qaeda.”

    Well, it would be worth giving them the Gitmo/Waterboard treatment to get them to ‘fess up to being in cahoots. If nothing else, it would “prove” once and for all the true “value” of such evidence.

  2. PeasantParty says:

    “and I think we all risk oversimplifying when we jump to conclusions who is pulling the strings.”

    Ah-hem. Okay, I’ll be the first here to risk oversimplifying. My conclusions are that the only group or government that uses the terminology of AQAP is the US Military, CIA, and JSOC. With that said, I watched Dennis Kucinch/sp speak and he confirmed many of my speculations of US involvement/intervention.

    I definitely agree with you about the strange shit going on and the current events with Syria. My stunned disbelief when I saw the reports of Syria lobbing bombs at Turkey sent my mind in anger mode. As an American, I do not agree with these actions and definitely not involvement in all these countries without dialogue and congressional approval. It appears to me and the world that the Pentagon, CIA, and JSOC can invade, bomb, drone, and war with any country they choose at anytime. American citizens be damned and forget all about the three branches of government to lead and protect!

    Thank you, Emptywheel. People must have an open forum to discuss these issues and see that other smart humans are feeling the same.

  3. bsbafflesbrains says:

    @PeasantParty: Thank Obama for not prosecuting war criminals like Bush and Cheney et al. That gave a blank check to the MIC and they have been on a spree since then. I’m sure we’ll read a story by Judith Miller about how a Syrian General met with an Iranian General at a hotel in Paris.

  4. bsbafflesbrains says:

    The incident in Sanaa involved an official embassy but what was the compound in Benghazi officially. I know it wasn’t an Embassy and I heard it wasn’t a Consulate. This seems like in State Departmentese to be important but Reporters have differed on it’s description.

  5. P J Evans says:

    Headline this morning in the SF Chronicle on-line edition

    Report: Safety systems for Afghan IEDs inadequate

    Someone should have run that one past another set of eyes….

Comments are closed.