But he pledged not to use violence inside Yemen (Osama bin Laden’s orders), and claims to have government backing.
The former bodyguard of al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, said he is preparing to establish a think-tank on jihad in the Yemeni capital Sana”a where he lives under loose house arrest.
“We”ll study the history of jihad. We”ll look at how it started and how the concept can be applied now,” Nasser al Bahri, told Yemen Observer, in an interview in Sana”a.
The 33-year old al Bahri, who is also called Abu Jandal, joined al Qaeda in 1996 and spent four years in Afghanistan. The sincere and strong young man had orders to kill bin Laden, if his sheikh (boss) was on the brink of being captured.
A strapping young lad — you needed to know that, didn’t you? And all his friends probably think he’s a decent guy.
Asked if the think tank would endorse violence in Yemen, he said, “No. It is the sheikh Osama bin Laden’s word that Yemen should not be a battleground.”
Abu Jandal, who is working as a trainer in a human development institute in Sana”a to support two wives and five children, is now looking to receive funds for his new venture, which he says has the backing of the Yemeni authorities. He is one of al Qaeda members who are in truce with the Yemeni government.
He is very critical of the splinter of al Qaeda cells who have been behind a wave of renewed terrorist attacks, which targeted western interests, government installations, and western tourists.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he is in a difficult position, juggling American demands for co-operation on counter-terrorism with the Yemeni public opinion, which is hostile to the US-led invasion of Iraq and the oppression of the Palestinians.
Note how casually that last bit was dropped in.
“Nothing will change after the American presidential elections. Barack Obama might make a difference in internal matters for American citizens, if he’s elected, but foreign policy will stay the same no matter who wins.”
Abu Jandal was arrested at the airport of Sana”a where he was in his way back to Afghanistan for suspicion of being involved in the suicide bombing of the American destroyer USS Cole in September 2000.
He was jailed in Sana”a for one year and ten months and he was questioned by the FBI officers.
He was released in 2002 along with other al Qaeda members after making a pledge with the government that he would not involve himself any armed activity inside Yemen.