I'm a reporter for the Guardian who recently snuck into Southern Yemen with my director dressed as a local couple to make contact with an Al Qaeda contact for a Frontline PBS film. Then, we managed to film in Al Qaeda controlled territory, interviewed Al Qaeda fighters, and saw their prisoners.

Yemen is at the center of Al Qaeda's ongoing operations.

I recently got back, and a film based on my experiences aired last night on Frontline. It's online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/al-qaeda-in-yemen/

I'll be on at 10:30 am ET to take your questions. Looking forward to it.

Comments: 448 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

GhaithAbdulAhad249 karma

I think te most surprising thing in this trip was how al Qaeda has changed its strategy from working in caves and underground into openly controling cities and towns

sirernestshackleton204 karma

Just a tip, it's easier to hit 'reply' under the question.

GhaithAbdulAhad146 karma

thanks : ))

AgentDaedalus85 karma

Did they respect you as a human?

GhaithAbdulAhad105 karma


1Ender63 karma

What are your feelings on the current situation in iraq? Do you still live there and has the situation become safer for you?

GhaithAbdulAhad124 karma

Iraq now is a mafia/police state not that different from syria, yemen or even iraq under sadddam, a political sectarian elite with monopoly over resources massive corruption and brutal security forces... Sounds familiar no?

GhaithAbdulAhad53 karma

We'll be starting in a few minutes; and look out for answers from JamieDoran - he produced the film.

LBJforUSA47 karma


GhaithAbdulAhad105 karma

Yes that was a major concern and of course not i dont notify any one we are independent journalist not embedded

GhaithAbdulAhad46 karma

I think the locals' attitude to Qaeda is somewhere between apathy and hostility. many of the seperatist see al Qaeda as something that might hamper their struggle for independence from the north.

GhaithAbdulAhad39 karma

@bordertrooper, how do they recruite? brilliant question. there are te usual methods using religion, ideology ... but also in the south of yemen there is so much anger towards the corrupt government in the north and that can be exploited. "the young are angry and they are looking for someone to help them vent their anger." one elder told me in Aden

GhaithAbdulAhad36 karma

drone attacks are escalating lately and they are killing may of the commanders but also civilians and I personaly don't think that the drones are the solution, they carry the risk of antagonising the population and driving many more recruits to join the al Qaeda

GhaithAbdulAhad26 karma

when I asked the prisoners about their treatment they said "we are being treated like prisoners, like prisoners" but I guess being a prisoner of al Qaeda is a really scary thing even if they treated you well

GhaithAbdulAhad26 karma

the prisoners were captured when alqaeda attacked their base. they were held as a bargaining chip against yemeni government. to visit them and film them was a very difficult moral question. I was with their captors and I was free and they weren't. I had been in their situation before and I could only imagine thier fear and anxiety. my only consultation was in filming them I will be able to document their situation. it was horrible being there

bakingsoda121213 karma

You say Yemen is at the center of ongoing operations. How long has it been like that? Did it move to Yemen after the death of Bin Laden?

Western media says that the number 1 and number 2 of Al Qaeda are Zawahiri and Al Libi, but speculate that they're hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Do the Yemeni operations even listen to these supposed leaders when they're reportedly so far away from each other?

GhaithAbdulAhad34 karma

Yemen been going on for a while, the way i see th organisation in the past two three years (even before the killing if bin laden) as independent from the leadership in af-pak region more like local franchises

GhaithAbdulAhad13 karma

@moneybaby. tribesmen are mostly pro independence now, Sharia is not an alien ideology imposed on them and they don't mind it or at least can't say they are against it, yet they don't want to be ruled by a Foriegn entity be it the Qaeda, the north yemen government or the Americans.

GhaithAbdulAhad13 karma

the situation in jaar is not different from the rest of yemen same poverty same wretchedness. al Qaeda is trying to portray it as a perfect utopia where merchants leave thier shops unattended and people hurry to go pray, but that's mainly because of the presence of religious police and the fear they have managed to install in the local population

vwcx2 karma

Ghaith, you're a journalist with a proven, exceptional ability to tell stories in many different mediums - still images, long-form written reportage, Frontline video investigations, audio interviews. In the film, we see you carrying a small still camera, and there's a videographer following you.

Before you arrived in Yemen, had you decided on a particular medium to tell the story?

So many photographers lack writing/reporting skills. You're an inspiration as someone who can do it all.

[deleted]18 karma

clicking 'reply' skills, however..

GhaithAbdulAhad28 karma

I have managed it now : )