Event Summary Does al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula retain the capabilities to pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies? On Tuesday, AEI’s Danielle Pletka and Katherine Zimmerman were joined by Georgetown University’s Bruce Hoffman to discuss the current composition and goals of al Qaeda in the context of recently intercepted communications between al Qaeda’s core leadership and its Yemeni affiliate. Hoffman argued that the terrorist organization has gained momentum in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, carving out sanctuaries to plan operations, learning from mistakes in Iraq, and positioning itself as the vanguard of the Syrian revolution. Zimmerman observed that while the al Qaeda core may be weakened, it remains connected to its Middle East and North African affiliates. Pletka then transitioned to a discussion of al Qaeda’s motives, asking whether the al Qaeda network intentionally leaked information about a planned attack to test the American response. Hoffman concluded that the war on terror has transitioned to a new phase that will require action against an increasingly threatening group of enemies united by a common ideology. –Zach Huffman Event Description Intercepted communications between the head of al Qaeda in Pakistan and the leader of the group’s Yemeni affiliate revealed one of the most serious plots against Western interests since 9/11, prompting an unusual global travel alert and the closure of nearly two dozen US diplomatic missions across the Middle East. Although the target of the planned attack remains unknown, the captured intelligence suggests that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula still has the capabilities to pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies. Tune in to this Google Hangout conversation among al Qaeda experts from AEI and Georgetown University as they discuss the terrorism threat and the implications for the war on terror. This event will be livestreamed.
Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University
Danielle Pletka, AEI
Katherine Zimmerman, AEI
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