From the BBC: “Al-Qaeda has confirmed that Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of its offshoot in the Arabian Peninsula, has been killed in a US drone strike in Yemen.”
Words cannot describe how important this is. As Joshua Keating notes at Slate, Wuhayshi had a fairly long run as a member of Al-Qaeda (Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of global AL-Qaeda, promoted him to the senior membership in 2013) and was even once Osama Bin Laden’s personal secretary in Afghanistan. AQAP, known as Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, has grown in numbers very significantly over the last several years. Same for the AQIM, or Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Northern Africa). Wuhayshi is responsible for quite a bit of the recent upsurge in AQ recruitment and increased territorial gains.
Despite the controversy of the drone-strike program, this should provide public support for its continued presence in Al-Qaeda-controlled territories. With all the recent worry over ISIS’s continued expansion in Northern Iraq, we cannot forget that Islamic terrorism is still pervasive in several parts of the world. Thank you to the U.S. Military for bringing down Wuhayshi, and may the rest of AQ suffer the same fate as him.