AQAP's Saeed Al-Shehri Not Killed...Again

Saeed al-Shehri (also spelled al-Shihri) the second in command of AQAP in Yemen is not dead. He released a tape today critical of Saudi Arabia. This is the third time he's been declared dead and later surfaced, alive and well. (The first time was in 2009 and the second time was in 2012.) The former Guantanamo detainee, refugee from the Saudi reconciliation program, and co-founder of AQAP, seems to have as many lives as Ilyas Kashmiri.

What I really want to know is what happened to young Yousef, al-Shehri's stepson, whose father has been trying to find him since 2009. It reads like a soap opera, kind of like a terrorist version of Elian Gonzales. [More....]

Al-Shehri and his friend Yousef get out of Gitmo and go home to Saudi Arabia. Yousef introduces al-Shehri to his sister, Umm Yousef, and they fall in love. Umm Yousef had been married twice before. She had a son Yousef with her first husband, whose name is Al-Qahtani. After al-Qahtani divorced Umm Yousef, she remarried a terrorist who later got killed. Umm Yousef then returned with young Yousef and her daughter (by the terrorist) to her mother's house. Al-Qahtani got to see young Yousef while Umm Yousef was living with her mother, and before that, with the terrorist.

But then Umm Yousef married al-Shehri, and he left the Saudi reconciliation program and went to Yemen( deeply embarassing his family. His father publicly disowned him.)

Umm Yousef and her brother Yousef (who had been in Gitmo with al-Shehri and was later killed attempting to transport suicide vests across the Saudi border) follow al-Shehri to Yemen, taking along young Yousef -- and not telling al-Qahtani where he is. One day the school called al-Qahtani and said young Yousef hadn't shown up for five days.

Ultimately al-Qahtani got a phone call letting him know that Yousef is with Umm Yousef and al-Shehri in Yemen.

Young Yousef is around 14 now. Did he become a terrorist like his stepfather? Or did he go back home to Saudi Arabia and his non-terrorist father? Inquiring minds (like mine) want to know.

The moral to the story? Maybe it's that some themes in life are so universal they transcend everything else, from nationality to religion to terrorism. There's a bit of common ground after all, even if it's just things like love, divorce, fathers' visitation rights and parental kidnapping.

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