- By J. Dana StusterJ. Dana Stuster is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy. He has studied at the American University of Beirut and graduated in 2010 with degrees in English and International Relations from the University of California, Davis. Before coming to FP, his work appeared in the Atlantic and the National Interest, among other publications.
Said al-Shihri just won’t stay dead. Each time the deputy emir of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has reportedly been killed, he has popped up again several months later with a new piece of propaganda. He did so after supposedly being killed in September, and he did it again today after his reported death in January.
Shihri fought in Chechnya and Afghanistan before being captured by U.S. forces in 2001 and detained at Guantánamo Bay. He underwent a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia and was released in September 2008, only to show up in a video announcing the formation of AQAP in Yemen just four months later.
Shihri’s latest brush with death reportedly began when he was seriously wounded in an airstrike in Yemen’s northern Saada province on Nov. 28 and went into a coma. But a source connected to AQAP tells Yemeni journalist Shuaib al-Mosawa that rather than succumb to his wounds, as was reported in January, Shihri was treated by Syrian doctors fighting with AQAP and has since recovered. He appears to have recovered at least enough to make an audio recording, released today, calling for an uprising in Saudi Arabia.
According to AFP, the message references events that have taken place in the months since his death was announced by Yemen’s state media — demonstrating that it was recorded recently — but does not explicitly reference reports of his demise. Al-Mosawa’s source speculated that AQAP will comment more on recent events as the initial round of Yemen’s National Dialogue winds down.
The full audio message, in Arabic, can be accessed at Jihadology here.