The Death of Anwar al-Awlaki

Early this morning, the news broke that Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Muslim cleric with ties to al-Qaeda in Yemen, was killed in a drone strike.  Al-Awlaki, believed to be a senior leader of al-Qaeda’s presence in Yemen, was suspected of helping to recruit Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab (the “underwear bomber”), and was tied to the attempt to ship explosives into the U.S. via cargo planes last year.

This new development has many asking about al-Awlaki: who he was, what his death means, and whether the action was even legal.  Here are a few articles and blog posts to help you better understand the situation.


Drone strike kills U.S.-born al Qaeda cleric al-Awlaki, U.S. officials say (CNN): The main news article from today.

The Myth of Anwar al-Awlaki (Foreign Policy): A fairly in-depth article from August, 2011 about Awlaki.

Anwar al-Awlaki: Gone But Not Forgotten (Foreign Policy): An opinion piece looking at Awlaki’s role and the future of al-Qaeda in Yemen after his death.

Anwar al-Awlaki: al Qaeda’s rock star no more (CNN): A different perspective on Yemen and al-Qaeda, post-Awlaki.

Al Qaeda’s Not Dead Yet (Brookings): Another opinion on the future al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemeni Cleric’s Killing: Praise and Unease (Council on Foreign Relations): An overview of the issues surrounding Awlaki’s (targeted) killing.

Was Killing American al Qaeda Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Legal? (Time): A look at some of the legal issues and debate involved with the drone strike that killed al-Awlaki, and implications for future cases.

Was Anwar al-Awlaki still a U.S. Citizen? (Foreign Policy): A brief blog post asserting that al-Awlaki was in fact, still a U.S. citizen when he was killed.

Is Obama’s Use of State Secrets Privilege the New Normal? (The Nation): An article from (almost exactly) one year ago discussing civil liberties, state secrets, and Anwar al-Awlaki.  Food for thought.