News / Middle East

A Look at Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula

Soldiers stand by a burned out military vehicle at the site of an attack in Aden, Yemen, July 24, 2011. A suicide attacker driving a pickup truck packed with explosives blew himself up outside an army camp in Yemen's coastal city of Aden, killing at least
Soldiers stand by a burned out military vehicle at the site of an attack in Aden, Yemen, July 24, 2011. A suicide attacker driving a pickup truck packed with explosives blew himself up outside an army camp in Yemen's coastal city of Aden, killing at least
TEXT SIZE - +

Fighters with al-Qaida's Yemen-based affiliate, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, originated in the ranks of the mujahedin veterans of the anti-Soviet war in the 1980s in Afghanistan.

Originally, the militants operated in separate branches out of both Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  But beginning in 2003, Saudi authorities cracked down on al-Qaida and many of the Saudi militants fled across the border to Yemen, taking advantage of the civil unrest there and the safehavens provided in Yemen's large areas of ungoverned territory.

The Saudi and Yemeni branches of al-Qaida officially merged in January 2009 to form the present day's al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

Following the merger, the United States issued an open declaration of war against the group, and the Yemeni government started its own crackdown on the jihadist movement.  Over the years, the U.S. military has been coordinating with the Central Intelligence Agency and Yemeni authorities to attack AQAP targets, usually by manned aircraft or cruise missiles.

In late 2009, AQAP expanded its operations outside of Yemen, most notably by sending Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in a botched attempt to detonate an explosive device aboard a U.S. flight on December 25.

U.S. authorities also accused one of the group's leaders, U.S.-Yemeni citizen and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, of being in contact with a U.S. Army psychiatrist who allegedly went on a shooting spree in November 2009 at an American military base, killing 13 people.

In addition, Awlaki helped expand the group's outreach in English, by using online sermons to galvanize followers.  AQAP also publishes an English-language magazine online, called "Inspire," to preach its message and describe its attacks.

Ties between Osama bin Laden's original al-Qaida, believed to be based in Pakistan's tribal regions, and AQAP are assumed to be strong.  But most analysts believe that the terror network affiliate conceives and orchestrates attacks on its own.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid