On Deaths of AQAP Leaders
In covering the death of AQAP’s leaders, Al Jazeera tends to direct attention at authorities responsible for the strike.
In its initial reporting of the strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan in 2011, Al Jazeera directed its attention at Yemen’s Ministry of Defense, which reported on the death “without specifying the date, or the location of [al-Awlaki’s] death, or the manner in which he was killed.” Simultaneously, the network noted a Reuters report that al-Awlaki was killed in an airstrike that struck two cars in Mareb province in eastern Yemen. The network focused on the perceived incompetency of Yemeni authorities, mentioning that they had announced al-Awlaki’s demise in December 2010, only to clarify later that he had not been killed. “Al-Yemen Ya’lan Muqatal Al-Awlaki,” Al Jazeera, September 30, 2011, http://www.aljazeera.net/news/pages/3528ae8d-5dd8-4684-8f92-7d089d01f732.
In the aftermath of Said al-Shihri’s death in 2013, Al Jazeera’s Yemen director, Saeed Thabet, described al-Shihri as a “charismatic personality, [who had] gained great fame, and played an important role in assembling al-Qaeda members.” “Al-Qaeda bi Al-Yemen Ta’alan Muqatal Al-Shihri,” Al Jazeera, July 17, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.net/news/pages/ee5ebda4-e2a9-41f7-81c7-23916da3ddb8. Thabet also noted that al-Shihri was number 36 on the Saudi’s 85 most wanted list, and that he had been declared [dead] more than once. “Al-Qaeda bi Al-Yemen Ta’alan Muqatal Al-Shihri,” Al Jazeera, July 17, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.net/news/pages/ee5ebda4-e2a9-41f7-81c7-23916da3ddb8.