Arab Media Examines Legacy, Expresses Sympathy for Said al-Shihri
When AQAP announced the death of its deputy leader, Said al-Shihri, on July 17, 2013, the Saudi outlet al-Eqtisadiah uncharacteristically referred to al-Shihri as a “terrorist.” The outlet printed the eulogy given by Ibrahim al-Rubaish, a senior AQAP cleric, which confirmed that al-Shihri was killed by an American drone strike. Like other media reports, al-Eqtisadiah noted that Yemeni authorities had declared al-Shihri dead on January 24, saying that he died from injuries sustained in a counter-terrorism operation in November 2012. However, al-Qaeda had not officially confirmed the news. “Al-Qaeda Tu’akid Halak Al-Irhabi Said Al-Shihri fi Al-Yemen,” Al-Eqtisadiah, July 17, 2013, http://www.aleqt.com/2013/07/17/article_771082.html.
In Al-Hayat, Walid al-Ahmad wondered about the fate of al-Shihri’s widow in Yemen. Al-Ahmad wrote that while news of al-Shihri’s absence was exciting for people who follow the war on terror, the most interesting question, “especially in Saudi Arabia…[is about] which fate awaits al-Shihri’s Saudi widow, Wafa al-Shihfri, who fled to Yemen with her children in 2009, will she remain where she is, or will you see her returning to her homeland?” Walid Al-Ahmad, “Nihaya Al-Shihri Tu’ajij Al-Tasa’ulat hawla Mustaqbal Armlatihi fi Al-Yemen,” Al-Hayat, July 19, 2013, http://www.alhayat.com/OpinionsDetails/534383. Al-Ahmad wrote that when Abdullah Asiri called to arrange a meeting with Mohamed bin Nayef—the meeting where Asiri tried to assassinate bin Nayef by detonating a bomb in his underwear—Asiri appealed to bin Nayef by relaying a supposed message of despair from Wafa al-Shihri about the living conditions that she and her children faced in Yemen and their yearning to go home. Walid Al-Ahmad, “Nihaya Al-Shihri Tu’ajij Al-Tasa’ulat hawla Mustaqbal Armlatihi fi Al-Yemen,” Al-Hayat, July 19, 2013, http://www.alhayat.com/OpinionsDetails/534383.