All posts by Matthew Corbett

The American in the Arabian Pennisula

On September 17, 2015 The Brookings Insitutue hosted New York Times reporter Scott Shane who discussed the life and path that lead Anwar Al-Awlaki to become the most important english speaking recruiter and leader of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Scott discussed the history of Anwar’s life in the United States from his time as a college student at Colorado State University to his life as an Imam at a San Diego mosque which later produce two of the 9/11 hijackers. The narrative was not only about Anwar’s path to radicalization but also about the door that was opened by the United States when we decided to use a drone strike to kill him on September 30, 2011. Evidence was provided that he was the mastermind behind many terrorism plots aimed mainly against the United States. To help Scott along this journey down the at path of Anwar’s life here in the states and in Yemen was Brooking Institute Senior Fellow and Director of The Intelligence Project Bruce Riedel. While Scott had done extensive research on Anwar from the civilian side, even going as far as visiting his native village in Yemen to interview Anwar’s brothers, Bruce has been working in the counter terrorism field his whole career and provided a larger context to the story, as well as a more modern understanding of how Anwar’s extensive on-line recruitment campaign is, still today, allowing him to reach beyond the grave and radicalize fragile young minds all over the globe.