News / Middle East

    Analysts: Turmoil in Yemen Benefiting al-Qaida

    U.S. intelligence officials believe al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is now the most significant terrorist threat to the United States, and analysts say the Yemen-based organization is benefiting from the violence and turmoil in that country. 

    Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was formed in 2009 with a merger of branches of the terrorist group in Saudi Arabia and Yemen and almost immediately began focusing attacks on the United States.

    In December of that year, the group said it was responsible for an attempted bombing on a commercial airline flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.

    In October 2010, a bomb plot was discovered when two packages of explosives were found on cargo planes bound for the United States.  The packages were sent from Yemen.

    Analyst Katherine Zimmerman specializes in Yemen at the American Enterprise Institute.  She says the most dangerous situation for the United States comes from what al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has gained from the current unrest.

    “Counterterrorism forces have moved from al-Qaida strongholds in Yemen into the capital to protect regime interests, such as the presidential palace and other key infrastructure.  What this has done has increased the operating space that al-Qaida has in Yemen," said Zimmerman.

    Instability, security

    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace associate Christopher Boucek focuses on terrorism and stability issues in Yemen.  He says al-Qaida individuals and cells in Yemen are planning attacks on the United States.

    “Instability in Yemen is not something that is a far off scenario.  It affects American domestic security.  Instability and insecurity in Yemen is a domestic American security issue,” said Boucek.

    Likelihood of attack

    Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Edmund Hull also served as the acting coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department and says al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is likely to launch another attack on the United States.

    “And they have said that even in trying they succeed if they cause us to take yet more additional security burdens upon our shoulders.  So they can win, even if they do not succeed 100 percent,” he said.

    The terrorist group publishes an English-language magazine on the Internet that contains directions for making bombs and seeks to recruit local citizens to commit terrorist acts.

    Analyst Zimmerman says the terrorist group seeks to recruit and train local citizens to commit terrorist acts. “Not only is it attempting to execute spectacular mass casualty attacks against the U.S. and American interests, but it is also trying to encourage would-be recruits to execute smaller scale attacks,” she said.

    Christopher Boucek says the group is calling for many small attacks, which are less expensive and more difficult to detect. “So I think you see an organization that has an incredibly fast learning curve, is very opportunistic, increasingly lethal.  I think the problem in Yemen looks smaller than it probably actually is,” he said.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on an unusual high-level visit to Yemen earlier this year, said the Obama administration has “rebalanced” America’s aid program so it is no longer tilted toward terrorism and security.

    Clinton said nearly half of the $300 million program for this year is aimed at helping Yemen deal with declining oil resources and a severe water shortage.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora