In what I would call the culminating interview of my career, today I spent 2-hours with Abu Yahya al-Libi’s older brother in the warden’s office at Bu Salim Reform and Rehabilitation Center (prison). No photos allowed on this one, which is too bad b/c I cant possibly convey how surreal of an experience this was.
Initial reflections: Abd al-Wahhab was thoughtful, warm, inviting, and sincere. Yes, I just said that the brother of Abu Yahya al-Libi, who has served 15 years in a Libyan prison for being a senior leader of one of the toughest terrorist groups post-Soviet Afghanistan was a really intellectually impressive and kind man. We actually had one of the most engaging, substantive and mind-blowing discussions about global jihadism that I’ve ever had with anyone.
If he is any indicator of how his younger brother works - (keeping in mind that I found Abu Idris to be a virtual twin in look, mannerism and the way he processes/analyzes/expresses information) - then we need to formulate an entirely new approach to an Abu Yahya al-Qaida than we would a UBL al-Qaida.
In other words, I’ve reached some staggering conclusion about how the US ought to proceed in its war on al-Qaida as a result of this interview and several others that I’m eager to share over the next couple months through a variety of publications that I plan to spin out of this. Some are quite counterintuitive and I expect will provoke a vigorous debate.