I just returned from an Al Qaeda stronghold in Yemen

posted by GhaithAbdulAhad to /r/IAmA on Wed, 30 May 12 15:07:16 +0100

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.

The original poster hasn't replied to any of this threads comments. Click here to show unanswered comments.

Who gives a shit? can we just carpet bomb this shit hole of a country please? surely we can do something with the land. Landfill? yes, international landfill. Wipe em all out and turn their country into a landfill.

Are you serious with this shit?

Downvoted.

Scumbag Reddit: berates some guy who's just been to a terrorist stronghold.

Do you have any idea why the media insists on calling Al Qaeda "Al Qaeda" in Yemen and "opposition activists" in Syria?

Because the U.S. political elite likes al-Hadi and dislikes Assad.

Do you understand that it was the CIA that created AQ and in fact, taught the mujahideens that Russia were invading them because they hated Islam, In effect creating what we today call radical Islamism? Or is part of being a journalist having to ignore these uncomfortable truths?

What were the Al Qaeda members like, and what were their attitudes like in general?

What was it like in Yemen, in general?

My first thought was does the government know you had contact with Al Qaeda fighters/prisoners? And then I thought that thought was a bit harsh so I apologize.

So, I'll ask what was the most nail biting situation you were in Yemen?

Was the local population supportive or unsupportive of Al Qaeda? Also how were the prisoners treated?

Did you see Don Cheadle in the prison? jk.

Serious question: How safe is it to travel there? I've been dreaming of going to Socotra for years, but all those years have been post 9/11 and I would rather not be murdered or held captive if it can be avoided.

How was life in the stronghold compared to the rest of Yemen?

In the area, what was the most surprising to you?

i think this song is an appropriate theme for the OP http://youtu.be/_W-fIn2QZgg

It must have been easy to see this guy walking around, because of the gargantuan balls this guy obviously has.

There is no such thing as Al Qaeda. Fuck you, OP.

How much did they talk of religions?

How did you work up the courage to go? Kudos to your bravery by the way, and glad you got back alive.

Were there any discoveries about the al-Qaeda fighters that you found unexpected or shocking?

Did you hear any good stories from any of the members?

Did you get the impression that their struggle is still mostly religiously motivated or nowadays is it just a struggle against foreign troops in their land?

Are you planning on making the doccumentary available to people outside of the US? I'd love to watch it.

An hour-long version of the film will go out on international release in the next few weeks

We're going to need proof. How about an Al Qaeda soldier hold up a drawing of the reddit alien?

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

If by that, you mean, any inconvenient group is very conveniently re-labeled as "Al Qaeda" by our "intelligence" community.

Your Wikipedia article says that you trained as an architect in Baghdad. You can't study architecture without being a little connoisseur of history, culture, and the arts. Do you think that when things are finally peaceful Iraq will regain some of its standing as a cultural powerhouse?

I would love to visit, and hopefully in the next 40 years the circumstances will be such that I can.

this title seems redundant. am i correct?

I just returned from an Al Qaeda stronghold in Yemen

Proof?

I still don't buy the claim that Al Qaeda was anything other than 1 group of guys. Terrorists are not a network. Each has it's own motives and beginnings.

I'll be called a conspiracy nutjob, but the weirdest part is that I'm right. Yemen is destabilized, the US has been bombing it, and wants to keep everyone thinking the boogey man is there.

Why can we trust you?

Ah, the Guardian? Based on your articles about israel, I had already assumed you were an Al Qaeda mouthpiece.

We want to thank you guys for all of your comments and questions but we will have to sign off for now as Ghaith has been called away suddenly. For any more information on Clover Films and our other projects, visit www.clover-films.com

When you saw the prisoners, how did you feel? Edit: Can't watch the video at the moment. I will make sure to watch it as soon as I get home.

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.

clicking 'reply' skills, however..

why does it say when i try to play the video 'the selected item currently is not available'?????

HOLY FUCK! DUDE, YOU ARE MY FUCKING HERO.

all you pansy ass big mouth whitebread tough ass wanna be's could learn more about being a in with 5 mins with this guy than anywhere else in firstworld.

This crazy motherfucker jumped on the back of a dirtbike in Afghanistan and rode away to go film al-qaeda, as soon as anyone with real connections showed up they started talking about cutting his head off.

holy shit, you are my hero!!!!

Do they know that we call them Al Qaeda (do they have their own name that's different?)

Is there any connection between this group and the original group of mujahadeen from soviet occupation of afghanistan. Originally we were told that Al Qaeda was a database of these mujahadeen. (source - 'The Power of Nightmares')

I heard they all smell like they had sex despite nobody out there having sex. Is this true?

Did you get to drink coffee with any of the Americans there?

I doubt as a journalist for Al-Guardian you had to do much sneaking, as generally your coverage has been biased in favour of Islamic Fundimentalists. Choosing instead to focus on Israel-Palestine then the core issue of the state of the Arab world. All to pander to pro-arab european sensibilities. Al-Queda will have appreciated this PR.

I doubt as a journalist for Al-Guardian

HAHAHAHA, GET IT?

YOU MADE THE GUARDIAN SOUND ARAB!

HAHAHA YOU'RE TOTALLY NOT RACIST OR ANYTHING!

Were you ever close to being discovered?

What would say is the average age of an Al Qaeda fighter?

Would you be willing to provide better proof?

Don't know guys, seeing the grammatical and spelling mistakes... I don't expect it from a reporter. Can we get proof of your experiences and your identity OP?

Well, it is the Guardian. Hiyoooo!

Seriously though, this is either some retard bullshitting for karma, or a really bad attempt at propaganda. "Al Qaeda" is the name of the CIA program to "radicalize" mujaheddin in Afghanistan - it's not a real "Islamic terrorist organization" in any meaningful sense. It's just western propaganda for oil acquisition.

Thus, the chances that a "reporter" went to Yemen and spoke w/ anyone who self-identified as "Al Qaeda" are virtually nil. One way or another, it's transparently bullshit.

Edit: I really shoulda warned in advance about the pro-propaganda downvotes. 14 whole people want to bury this comment so far! Clearly the masses have spoken.

PBS posted the link to reddit.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/al-qaeda-in-yemen/how-did-ghaith-abdul-ahad-inflitrate-al-qaeda-ask-him/

Also, English is his second language. But also, it's reddit. I doubt the answers are being vetted by multiple editors, or the answers could be dictated to some intern.

Most (if not all) of the answers from GhaithAbdulAhad (updated: May 31, 2012 @ 09:08:04 pm EST):


Top-level Comment:

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


(continued below)

(page 2)


Top-level Comment:

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


Top-level Comment:

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


Top-level Comment:

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.


Top-level Comment:

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


Top-level Comment:

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


Top-level Comment:

@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


Top-level Comment:

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


Top-level Comment:

@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.


Question (sirernestshackleton):

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

Answer (GhaithAbdulAhad):

thanks : ))


Question (AgentDaedalus):

Did they respect you as a human?

Answer (GhaithAbdulAhad):

Yes


Question (LBJforUSA):

Ghaith, excellent frontline piece. Did you have to notify the American military of your excursion so that you would avoid a potential drone strike? Were you concerned that a strike might occur while you were in one of the towns? Thanks for your time!

Answer (GhaithAbdulAhad):

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


Question (bakingsoda1212):

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?

Answer (GhaithAbdulAhad):

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


Question (1Ender):

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

Answer (GhaithAbdulAhad):

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?


this bot's mind is being melted.

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

How was the food? Totally pertinent.

Yeah don't bother taking 5 minutes to figure out how reddit works first. Great publicity here.

I am not a writer or especially good at grammar, if you are a reporter you should know the irregular verb you want is sneaked not snuck. Just saying.

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

sounds better than the US POW prisons

Yeah, you should really click the reply button on the comment, instead of making a new one.

It would really help the context. Please do this

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

I think we don't give a shit that we piss off the population anymore. We are done trying to win the hearts and minds because it is nearly impossible to do so. We will just keep on bombing them into fear. Sure they will hate us but they will never get to launch a 9/11 attack again. With drones it is so much cheaper to conduct war. Intelligence, drones, and small attack teams is the way to go. No more wasting time on nation building bs.

It seems to me that this is an abject failure on the part of the United States military. Too much collateral damage occurs for me to believe drone attacks could ever do more "good" than harm.

There is far less collateral damage with the drone attacks than if the US attacked al Qaeda on the ground. However I find it pretty chilling that all military age males are considered combatants after getting killed

Really? How much collateral damage was there when they killed Bin Laden? None? Oh, ok.

How much did that operation cost? A fuck ton? Oh, ok.

And drones are cheap? I guess the fact that innocent people die for no reason doesn't bother you as long as we save some money.

How did you get access to the camp and why doesn't the government or army just use your method to locate it? I've always wondered this whenever I see a documentary following people doing illegal things.

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.

Please, please click reply. It's not the least bit techincal. People can't tell what question you are answering.

This is hilariously incoherent. This AMA is like a fun game where you get to pair the questions with the answers by sheer guesswork.

Hit reply Ghaith.

Click the reply button under the comment your are responding to. Your answers are getting lost.

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

How were you able to gain enough trust from the al-qaeda militants to be accepted to the camp? What was your story? What did you learn that totally surprised you?

@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

For those who didn't watch the Frontline episode, even in the little town they control (Jaar) they had a media office and were churning out newsletters and DVDs.

Also, Al Qaeda uses Dell computers.

It was a Dell monitor and some whitebox computer. FYI.

Hate to be that guy, but can you provide any proof?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/al-qaeda-in-yemen/how-did-ghaith-abdul-ahad-inflitrate-al-qaeda-ask-him/

"Ask him and his producer Jamie Doran about these questions and any other aspect of Al Qaeda in Yemen today in a live chat and in a thread on Reddit."

I'd say thats quite proof.

Can't figure out how to reply, horrible speller. Seems legit...

It is possible he is dyslexic. Not all intelligent people can read.

Dunno. She hasn't mentioned Rampart once yet.

I used to make jokes about Rampart like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee and it really rustled my jimmies.

@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.

Appears he thinks Reddit is Twitter. =\

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

I cant be the only one who read that as John Dorian

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

There is no Al Qaeda in Yemen Us yemeni people are weapon oozed and operate by either caste system or tribes so I can see where u get that idea. Just because ones hates capitalism and Zionism doesn't mean they are al Qaeda

"Al Qaeda" never worked underground or in caves. Some of the more die-hard elements of the Taliban, which were unable to return to their homes, did. Hence the misconception.

And "Al Qaeda" doesn't exist. What you call "Al Qaeda" are mostly extreme Salafists, the rare ones that are anti-American, who operate independently in various groups that have different names.

You are either are liar, or you know less than a housewife about "Al Qaeda".

Considering Gaith has reported on Al-Q in Somalia, Yemen, Iraqi (is Iraqi) and Afghanistan (where he was imprisoned), and was just spending time with AQAP in Yemen, I'd think he has more knowledge than "a housewife."

Just because you have a lot of knowledge doesn't mean the knowledge you have is correct. It's like biblical scholars...

Someone seems like an angry Int'l Affairs undergrad.....

Watch the Frontline episode and watch them all identify as Al Qaeda. Ghaith goes in with the assumption that they just want to be Al Qaeda but finds out that there are real links to groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan who also identify as Al Qaeda.

So yea, maybe there's not one top down hierarchy but they identified as Al Qaeda (and another name that I can't remember).

I believe they went by Ansar ash-Shari'a. In my mind, that group is to Yemen as Al-Shabaab is to Somalia, but that could be off.

Are they maturing from terrorist gang to regional political organization with a terror wing a la Hizbullah, PLO, Hamas etc?

The difference between a terrorist group and an army (commanded by any government- I was wrong to pick on GOP) is similar to the difference between a cult and a religion... They are the same kinds of entities using different tactics because they are at a different point in their development. If a terrorist group had unmanned drones that could blow people up from miles away- it would certainly use them. If an army had few resources- it might use guerrilla warfare- attacking supply lines, assassinations, bombings.

The difference between a terrorist group and an army (commanded by

NANANANANANANANA shut the fuck up.

The big difference is that if the GOP loses an election, they no longer have control over the army, drones, guns, etc. If a "terrorist" organization such as Hebollah loses an election, they still keep their guns and guerrillas and use them to achieve what they couldn't democratically.

The question is, who orders the men with guns to go fight? I tend to be more interested in what the U.S. government does than Hezbollah- since I pay U.S. taxes and not Hezbollah taxes. So I ask myself, why did we go to war in Iraq or Afghanistan, and why did we stay so long? Can we all agree that weapons of mass destruction was a complete lie? Can we all agree that Al Qaeda has not been defeated and that they now operate in plain view, controlling territory and cities instead of hiding in caves? And, in the meantime, our country has gone completely bankrupt!? Where did all that money go? If we were able to follow that money, I suspect there would be a small group of individuals- from all over the world- who greatly benefited from those wars. These are people who run hedge funds, operate insurance companies, own stake in defense contractors, energy multinationals. These are the people who goad us into war- they are not chosen democratically and they do not leave after an unfavorable election.

The question is, who-

NANANANANANANA

is who

NANANANANANANA

is who the men wi-

NANANANANANANA

is who the men with guns go to-

NANANANANANANA

Go away.

MoveOn.

Can't forget that a mob of 15 leftist terrorists just burst in on a european heritage discussion group in Illinois and beat discussion participants and restaurant patrons with hammers and metal pipes.

I don't have the link handy but you might want to post it so the people downvoting you are shown up for the hypocrites they are.

wow, I was really interested in what you had to say, and then you follow up with this degenerate post.

I honest to god can't decide if you people are genuinely batshit insane, or just spouting bullshit you don't believe because you're bored.

I did a bit of googling and found the incident he was referring to. There are mixed claims about the people who were assaulted, but there is considerable evidence that bystanders who were not involved were also assaulted with bats and hammers.

The group that took responsibility is an "Anti-fascist" and "Anti-racist" group that used black bloc tactics, and it took place fairly close to an occupy rally and a g20 protest.

It was a leftist group using fascist tactics to, in their words, combat fascism.

I've no doubt that something like that has happened. I suppose I should have posted that to his other reply. I have a difficult time taking people seriously who divide the world up into "left" and "right" and then wish nothing but pain and misery on the opposing group.

He never stated anything to that effect, though. The entire body of his post is factually accurate- 15 leftist terrorists (in the 'use terror to enforce change' sense) burst into a european heritage discussion group meeting in a restaurant in Illinois and assaulted numerous people with hammers and pipes.

I meant the one below it.

I don't care, they are all feminized leftist fags anyway and will be worked to death in labor camps soon enough.

I didn't hit the right reply button.

He attributed it to MoveOn, that's what I take issue with (and just to be fair, I'll add that the GOP doesn't fit, either). In America, there are people of all kinds of political persuasions that use illegal means to get their goals (eg, abortion bombers). That doesn't mean that we should divide the country into two groups and say "A rightist did something bad... and it must be because the Republican party is evil!" or blaming a leftist's act on MoveOn.

GOOD! the only good NAZI is a dead NAZI.

Fuck you and your "European Heritage Discussion Group" Just call it what it is:

“where the 5th annual White Nationalist Economic Summit and Illinois White Nationalist Meet-and-Greet"

So you're saying you support violent attacks.

You mean the attack where 5 Indiana men were arrested for attacking (wrongfully) a group of white supremacists and then was denounced by even the SPLC? Yeah I heard George Soros personally planned the attack and handed these idiots the weapons right before they stormed the place. Why factually relay the story when "leftist terrorists", a term usually reserved for...you know...mass murderers and bombers sounds so much more insipid and "European Heritage discussion" sounds...you know...not at all like a white supremacist meeting? Proceed with the name calling, I've scrolled through your comments and it seems like all you've got is calling someone an "emo faggot" or the like.

No, what I have is the truth.

It's the worst possible thing you can say around here.

We may disagree with the Conservatives sometimes, but we are still one country. Please restrain from thinking of them as the enemy. "The other three R's: Respect, Restraint, Responsibility." - some caller on the Diane Ream show today

Have you noticed her voice is any different after the surgery?

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

Sneaks into Al Queda held territory, uses teenage smiley faces in comments.

I don't think I'm ready for the 21st century.

He's just s person like everyone else, and a thread on reddit isn't his professional work.

He's just s person like everyone else, and a thread on reddit isn't his professional work.

Actually, he is promoting his show. This is definitely PR, he clearly has never used reddit before today. So this is his work.

No matter what he does, some jack ass will talk shit, so what does it matter lol

You said it yourself: This is PR. And knowing your audience is a vital part of effective PR. Look around you! :)

I don't think he actually had to "sneak" into Yemen...remember, he's here on behalf of a publicist...for money. He is in no way a groundbreaking journalist, he's more of a paid shill, used to tow a narrative. I mean ffs he's a "journalist" using the term "al qaeda." His documentary reminds me of the syfy show "ghost hunters."

don't think of it as teenage. it is hard to convey emotion on-line. and that can have a big impact on statements. i kinda like it, it is very elcore.

While representing their company in public? I don't fucking think so.

Was this achieved by brute force and direct combat against Yemeni troops, or did the Al Qaeda forces just step into towns that the Yemeni government didn't have a presence in?

Hi everyone - this is Nathan over at Frontline.

Ghaith had to run -- he wanted to thank you for all the great questions, and was sorry he couldn't get to more.

But here's an idea:

We're working with the Guardian to host a live chat with Ghaith and Jamie TODAY at 2:30 pm ET.

We'll take as many of the unanswered questions from you guys as we can and call you out in the chat:

The chat's right here : http://ow.ly/bftBZ

What kind of an impression did Al Qaeda make for you?

How do the members themselves see Al Qaeda; good, bad, fighters for freedom?

How were you received? I imagine you had to be friendly to your hosts and eventually developed some friendships with a few individuals. Was Al Qaeda hospitable? Did you make any friends? What type of group activities did you participate in?

Was there any point when you were in obvious danger? Or did they mostly leave you alone and let you do what you were doing?

I'm still watching your film so my apologies if this is covered there, but what was the Yemeni impression of the US presence in the country (both from Al Qaeda and from unaffiliated people)?

What advice do you have for someone looking to enter your line of work, specifically going into conflict zones? I'm starting my career as a video journalist (behind the camera instead of in front of it), and would love some insight from someone with experience in delicate situations such as this.

Were they similar to how we see them in the media? Any interesting personalities? This should make for a good AMA!

Edit: By "they" I mean Al Qaeda

So are they just a bunch of criminal thugs, or is there merit and reasoning behind their violence?

Regarding most of the members: are they well informed but interpret events through a particular filter or is their thinking mostly dominated by propaganda which is fed to them?

If AQ took over a city, did they take over the power station too? Where do they get the electricity from?

Are you really muslim or was that just a cover to get into AQ base?

Did you call the US government and tell them that AQ commander is in the area when you met him in prison, or that al qusa guy? If you didn't dont you feel its your duty to do so?

I was in salala OMAN about a month and a half ago, and the military presence and road blocks as you approach salala and the yemen boarder is noticeable.

Were the people Yemenis? How was the attitude of the country in general?

What did you discuss, what are the reasons behind being in Al Qaeda?

What effect has Saleh's removal from power had in Yemen, both in Sanaa/Army held areas, and those held by AQAP?

You spoke about the tribal influence on AQAP, about how one united to kick AQAP out of their village. Is this growing across the country or has it been a one-off event?

An American C-130 recently delivered aid following the bombing ( link ) Has there been extensive USAID involvement in Yemen, or is the US mostly militarily involved? (drones, training, funding)

Thanks, kudos on your work.

Great report. It was interesting and insightful. You didn't mention much about the tribesmen's view on the US. Do they also see the US as an enemy?

When journalists do undercover or "behind the scenes" things like this, especially with wanted groups and individuals, are they ever questioned or detained by governments back home regarding what they heard or saw or for specific information and locations?

1) Is this a case of people fighting on behalf of more powerful/influential individuals or are they all "true believers?"

2) What's their perspective on the drone war?

3) In your opinion, are their attitudes justified in any sense?

4) Did you change your perspective (for example, more or less humanized) of them after your trip?

Surprise surprise, it's blocked outside of America. Anyone got another link?

Hello Ghaith and thanks for doing this. Were the prisoners you encountered held for political reasons, as leverage to try and force US forces to abandon Al Qaeda territory, or simply for ransom as a means of funding the operation? Also, is the extreme anti-American sentiment that drove the 9/11 attacks still prevalent, or is it more of a general anti-interventionist "get off my lawn" attitude towards NATO forces in the region as a whole?

How do they recrute? Do they have any support of the general population? Once youre in, can you get out (safe and sound)? Do you look like a local, if you wear the right clothes? Did you have an inside man? I'm a white Canadian, Do you recommend me wearing my flag like on a baseball cap of just go with totaly plain and neutral clothing?

I have to imagine this was terrifying. You did good work, thanks for doing an AMA.

I only have one question: How did you get so brave? Is there anything in your life that you can point to that inspired such bravery?

Hey, I saw the Frontline episode last night. It was awesome.

While watching I was wondering if the Al Qaeda people knew you were filming for British and American press. I think I noticed you only spoke English when you were outside of the Al Qaeda areas.

Did they know? Do you think they would care?

Forgive me as I don't have time to watch this entire video now, but would you say that this "Al Qaeda" is a separate entity from the "Al Qaeda" that the United States supposedly has been fighting in places such as Afghanistan or Iraq?

Do you believe these people are "terrorists," or "freedom fighters?" What do they see themselves as?

Were you paid or in any way induced to do this by the military force of a Western nation?

How were you able to disguise yourself? Obviously we know you are a journalist but how did your subjects view you?

What would you say Al Qaeda does well in Yemen? Something the west can learn from.

Hi. I'm the producer of the film. Many thanks for the very many kind comments. Very glad that you appreciate Ghaith's work and bravery. Special mention also to his director, Safa al-Ahmad, who accompanied him and filmed the trip

What do you think it will take for all the villages al-qaeda occupy to rise up against them? Does there need to be a catalyst like the assassination in Lawder? Is there presence just tolerated until they upset the local council?

Were you ever afraid of getting smoked by a missile fired from a drone?

Are the fighters normal people? Did they have normal-person emotions and habits or were they hard-asses all the time?

Did you discover anything that surprised you? Like any level of humanity that you would not have expected to see?

Is Al Qaeda the monolithic network it's made out to be by western media (similar to how communism was portrayed), or are there distinct ideological differences between Al Qaeda groups in different parts of the globe?

Are the people who started Al Qaeda in Yemen "descendants", for lack of a better term, of the original Al Qaeda, or are they more "franchisees"?

That guy who makes Q/A tables for AMAs is going to have fun with this one.