What Siun dubbed our Fourth War continues to heat up, this time with air strikes that reportedly kill Anwar al-Awlaki, the cleric who communicated with Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan via email in the months leading up to the Fort Hood killings.

Backed by U.S. intelligence, Yemeni forces struck a series of suspected al-Qaida hideouts Thursday, killing more than 30 militants in its stepped-up campaign against the terror network, the government said. A radical Muslim preacher linked by U.S. intelligence to a gunman who killed 13 people at a U.S. Army base is believed to have been killed in the airstrike, a security official said on Thursday.

“Anwar al Awlaki is suspected to be dead (in the air raid),” said the Yemeni official, who asked not to be identified.


Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee said airstrikes in the eastern Shabwa province targeted an al-Qaida leadership meeting that was organizing attacks. It said top al-Qaida officials were at the meeting, though it was unclear whether they were harmed.

Don’t get me wrong. I suspect there are far more dangerous members of al Qaeda in Yemen right now than in Afghanistan. If so, we’re at least targeting the guys we’re supposedly at war with.

Still, the convenience of killing al-Awlaki now, at  a time when we’re investigating his communication with Hasan, after we’ve been tracking him closely for seven years, along with the way this strike fits into the “30 casualties” formula, makes me a wee bit suspicious.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.