September 17, 2013
The Terrorist and the Analyst
Somehow I cannot avoid thinking that I'm the annoying yet unnamed terrorism writer.
Toward the end of May, Omar stopped tweeting. With no new information, except for a steady stream of contradictory rumors about his status that flew around Somali media and government circles, people began to lose interest. I periodically emailed him trying to find out if he was still alive, but I received no response. After several efforts to keep the conversation going, I gave up and assumed we were finished.Yeah I'm annoying, call it a gift.
In October, Omar surfaced again with another urgent video about the danger he faced with al-Shabab. After posting the video, he went silent again in public but responded to a few direct messages on Twitter. He said he no longer had access to email (he was using Twitter on his phone) and complained about another terrorism writer's clumsy attempts to bait him into a conversation.
But Jawa Report and my now defunct Howiejawa Youtube channel quickly put more eyeballs on Omar's message than anyone. At a time when the only journalists lending weight to the story were Christof Putzel and myself.
In private even Rusty questioned the veracity of the Abu_M twitter feed but deferred to my "Its him ,I swear!" protests.
But to be fair, I was pretty sure Omar was captured and it was a Zionist false flag operation. Christof Putzel was ahead of the whole crowd.
Shortly after everyone wanted to chit chat with Omar. I just regret that the story didn't end better despite my, you know, annoying front page personality.
Can't win them all ;-)
Regrets not so much for Omar, he made his bed, but for his parents Debra and Shafik. And also for the children of his Somali wives, born of an American, who are now in the hands of al-Shabbaab. Because his stubbornness and selfishness to be a martyr Omar denied his children their birthright as Americans, education, food, a better life. Which to me is the greatest tragedy of this entire mess.