The September 11, 2001 attacks refocused attention on Yemen’s role in the al Qaeda network; however, ten years later, Yemen now hosts one of al Qaeda’s most virulent franchises, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP has attacked the United States twice in the past two years; both times, bombs were successfully placed on planes destined for American cities. These attacks serve as reminders that despite progress made against core al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the al Qaeda network remains strong elsewhere. This year, Yemen’s entry into the Arab Spring presented AQAP and like-minded al Qaeda affiliates with a new opportunity to exert control in south Yemen, and possibly to pursue a strategy that would put AQAP in position to attack targets in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Ten years distanced from the September 11 attacks, al Qaeda in Yemen is stronger and perhaps better positioned than it was to launch attacks against American targets.
Please read the full text at the Critical Threats Project.