News / Middle East

Al-Qaida in Yemen Emerges as Key US Threat

Yemeni soldiers stand guard as suspected al-Qaida militants, behind bars, attend a court hearing in Sanaa, Yemen, March, 4, 2013.
Yemeni soldiers stand guard as suspected al-Qaida militants, behind bars, attend a court hearing in Sanaa, Yemen, March, 4, 2013.
VOA News
Al-Qaida'sYemen-based affiliate is at the root of a U.S. decision to close some diplomatic posts worldwide due to heightened terror alerts.

The U.S. considers the Yemeni offshoot, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, to be one of the terrorist network's most dangerous branches. U.S. intelligence officials say recent communications with the group and al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri led them to fear an attack was imminent.

Emerging threat

The al-Qaida branch has bases in remote Yemeni mountains. Fighters with the group originated in the ranks of the mujahedin veterans of Afghanistan's anti-Soviet war in the 1980s.

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 safe havens provided by Yemen's large areas of ungoverned territory.

The two branches officially merged in January 2009 to form 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. Throughout the years, the U.S. military has been coordinating with the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) and Yemeni authorities to attack AQAP targets.

Last year, the White House gave the Pentagon and CIA wider authority to carry out drone strikes in Yemen against the militants.

The group is known for carrying out suicide bombings and targeting Yemeni government officials for assassination. It is also suspected of planning attacks on U.S. interests, including a failed plot in 2010 to blow up U.S.-bound cargo planes with explosives hidden in printer ink cartridges.

Expanded reach

It was late 2009 when AQAP expanded its operations outside of Yemen, most notably by sending Nigerian citizen Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a U.S. passenger jet on Christmas Day. But the plot failed when the so-called Underwear Bomber's explosives failed to fully detonate.

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 the U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in a shooting spree in November 2009 at a U.S. military base.

In addition, Awlaki helped expand the group's outreach in English, by using online sermons to galvanize followers. AQAP also publishes an online English-language magazine 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 thought to be strong.

Most analysts believe that the terror network affiliate conceives and orchestrates attacks on its own. But U.S. media reports this week say al-Zawahri ordered his second-in-command, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who is the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, to carry out an attack as early as this past Sunday.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jerry Howe
August 06, 2013 2:46 PM
Cut the head off the snake. I am sure that with his latest brazen attempt to politicize himself and his agenda, he has set himself up for a fall.

Al Zahawiri needs to have his balls fed to pirahnas


by: J. R. Tomlin from: US
August 06, 2013 2:40 PM
No doubt someone believes this bosh, although I don't know anyone that dumb, right off hand. Probably at some point in the next few weeks something will happen SOMEWHERE in the world in order for the US government this attempt at fearmongering in order to justify their massive spying on US citizens and their persecution of whistleblowers. Massive Fail.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid