Al Qaida AP Claims Connection to Detroit Failed Bomb Attack

Update: Here's a Nov. 2009 report on AQAP and Yemen.

Al Qaida-Arabian Peninsula (a merged group of Saudi and Yemeni al-Qaida cells I described here) has released a statement claiming the explosive device carried by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was manufactured by its members. It says the act was in retaliation for a U.S. operation against the group in Yemen.

Via Al-Jazeera: the group says "a technical fault prevented it from successfully detonating."

The U.S. assisted Yemen in carrying out two airstrikes against AQ-AP members this month, one on Dec. 23 and the other on Dec. 17. It's still not known who was killed in those attacks, but it is believed the group's top leaders were either not there or survived.

Abdulmutallab snuck into Nigeria the day before boarding the Detroit flight in Amsterdam. It's not clear when he last was in Yemen, although his roomate has told a Yemeni paper he arrived in July and left in October. [More...]

AQ-AP is reportedly led by:

Nassir al Wahishi, the Al-Qaeda Yemen leader and former personal secretary to Osama bin Laden. Al Wahishi was extradited by Iran to Yemen in 2003). AQAP's second-in-command is Said Ali al Shihri, who was released from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in November 2007. Al Shihiri is accused of participating in the bombing of the US embassy in September 2008.

A religious leader affiliated with the group is Anwar al-Awlaki, who may or may not be the cleric that Abdulmutallab told authorities about and who exchanged e-mails with Ft. Hood defendant Major Hasan.

Initially it was reported that all three leaders might have been killed in the airstrikes, but that's been disputed.

Earlier this year it was said to be a relatively weak movement.

AQAP still appears to be a weak movement that is vulnerable to penetration by Saudi and Yemeni intelligence services. However, given the growing number of unemployed and disaffected South Asian workers (in Dubai particularly), AQAP could find new recruiting opportunities- particularly among workers who come from Islamist backgrounds. As tensions grow between the Gulf governments and their migrant worker populations, it will raise the opportunity for the AQAP to expand and strengthen its influence in the region.

AQ-AP is a splinter group. It hasn't yet figured out how to detonate PETN but probably will keep trying. While the group, particularly its leader Nassir al Wahishi, bears watching, the authorities have been taking action against them. The U.S. will be spending an additional $70 million to train Yemeni military over the next 18 months.

Meanwhile, airline stock prices fell today and the U.S. may already be removing some of the new flying restrictions.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's next hearing is Dec. 8. He's being represented by the Federal Defenders office in Michigan and been moved to a jail from the hospital.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Priceless: (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:40:08 PM EST
    It's still not known who was killed in those attacks, but it is believed the group's top leaders were either not there or survived.

    Greenwald nailed it.

    I'm so happy our intel nailed it down (none / 0) (#7)
    by cawaltz on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:28:36 PM EST
    (rolling my eyes)

    Don't worry the U.S. will put a boot (none / 0) (#2)
    by SOS on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:57:11 PM EST
    up their ass. Like Obama said today, "We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable."  (And then he went golfing)

    Nnice of him to talk about it (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 03:58:30 PM EST
    3 days after the fact....

    It does take a while (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:22:42 PM EST
    to get the stories straight.

    Never fear our tax dollars are (none / 0) (#4)
    by SOS on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:02:20 PM EST
    being put to work.


    There's a ray gun coming out soon also.


    Oh and this . . (none / 0) (#5)
    by SOS on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:04:49 PM EST
    please put your links in html format (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:48:56 PM EST
    long ones skew the site and require deletion of the comment.

    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#10)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 06:22:48 PM EST
    How about shorties from this sight?

      tinyurl.com link


    those are ok (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 06:25:41 PM EST
    Woohoo (none / 0) (#9)
    by cawaltz on Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 04:51:17 PM EST
    I'm pretty certain that absolutely nothing could go wrong with training Yemeni forces and I doubt that any of them would ever think of taking that information and utilizing it later on for purposes that would be counter to our own interests. I mean it isn't like there is any corruption in that country or anything.

    (tongue firmly in cheek)

    I'd much rather have a Yemen Army then health care.