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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in the Middle East

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid