AQAP Releases Statement on One Year Anniversary of Formation
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing today on Yemen and Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula. Here is the written testimony of Gregory Johnson (pdf) who also writes the blog Waq al Waq. On pages 17 to 23, he accurately outlines the formation,activities and events related to AQAP this year. He concludes the section with:
[T]he US and Yemen seem more prepared to fight the enemy al-Qaeda was rather than the one that it has become.
It was one year ago today that Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula announced its formation. Today, it released a statement (English translation)congratulating itself on its achievements during the past 12 months, and honoring its members who died during suicide missions. Some snippets: [More...]
A Statement Marking the One Year Anniversary of the Founding of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula
Every once in a while an important event takes place, the significance of which is not immediately apparent. It is only after a period of time passes that the enormity of the event is fully recognised. Such an event took place exactly one year ago today: on January 20th 2009.
On that day an announcement was posted to the jihadist forums, informing the Believers of the merger of two branches of the al-Qaida organisation: the branches in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
This new organisation would be known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and would be lead by Amir Abu Basir – Nasir al-Wahayshi (may Allah protect him), along with his deputy Sheikh Abu Sufyan – Said al-Shihri (may Allah protect him)
There was a certain amount of enthusiasm on the jihadist forums, people recognised the leadership potential of Amir Abu Basir (may Allah protect him), and looked forward to him slowly rebuilding the capabilities of the Mujahideen of the Arabian Peninsula. Outside of jihadist circles however, the announcement barely raised an eyebrow.
Very few people could have predicted that in just twelve short months Amir Abu Basir (may Allah protect him) would have made Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula a household name....
In twelve short months Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have achieved the following:
1.) Targeted the heads of Disbelief even while they hid behind their Palace walls, in the operation which targeted Muhammad bin Nayif. Every one of the Idol Kings of the Arabs will now sleep less soundly: knowing that the Lions of Tawhid are coming for them soon!
2.) Sent the Western world into a spin, forcing the infidels to spend many billions of dollars upgrading their airport security, following the operation of Umar al-Farouq (may Allah free him)
3.) Revealed the treachery of the Yemeni army, their disregard for the blood and honor of the Muslims, their complicity in the crimes of the Zionist-Crusaders; and therefore the obligation of fighting them.
4.) Clearly identified their long and short-term objectives, and proved the religious legitimacy of their acts with stirring speeches from Sheikh Ibrahim al-Rubaish, Commander Muhammad ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Rashid and Sheikh Abu Zubair Adil al-Abab (may Allah protect them all)
5.) Set a wonderful example for the Ummah to follow, with the martyrdom of Abul Khair - Abdullah Hassan al-Assiri, Abu Tamim al-Azdi - Yusuf al-Shehri, and Abu Omar al-Najdi - Raed al-Harbi (may Allah have Mercy on them all)
In conclusion, we congratulate all Mujahideen, especially those in the Arabian Peninsula, on their many victories during 2009, and look forward to even more from them in 2010, with the permission of Allah.
...Our Lord! Grant their Mujahideen one of the two best things: Victory or Martyrdom!Our Lord! Grant victory to the Mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Somalia, in the Caucasus, in the Islamic Maghreb, and all around the world!
This month in particular, the Yemen Government and press have been disseminating misinformation about AQAP leaders killed in recent strikes. As I reported here, the group's military leader Qasim al-Raymi has not been killed and its Deputy leader (and former Guantanamo detainee) Saeed al-Shehri has not been captured. The Yemen Observer, in its hurry to correct the misstatement about the capture of Saeed al Shehri, still has on its news page that their mistake was to confuse him with Yusef al Shehri. But as many have reported, including us, Yusef was killed in October, 2009. AQAP released his will in December.
Yemen has many problems, and AQAP is just one of them. It is still fighting a Shiite insurgency in the north and a separatist movement in the south. The country is short on oil and has major water shortage issues.
It's in our interest to help Yemen from becoming a failed state, but that doesn't require our involvement in military strikes. It requires developmental aid. We should be helping to reduce illiteracy, unemployment, malnutrition and disease in Yemen, where more than half of the population is under age 20. Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for CounterTerrorism, testified at today's hearing (prepared remarks here) and it sounds like we're going top-heavy on money for Yemen's counter-terror training:
The Departments of State and Defense provide training and assistance to Yemen’s key counterterrorism units. Through Diplomatic Security Antiterrorism Assistance (DS/ATA) programs we provide training to security forces in the Ministry of Interior, including the Yemeni Coast Guard and the Central Security Force’s Counterterrorism Unit (CTU). Future training could include border control management, crime scene investigation, fraudulent document recognition, surveillance detection, crisis management and a comprehensive airport security/screening consultation and assessment. We also see additional opportunities now to increase our training and capacity-building programs for Yemeni law enforcement.
Meanwhile, our over-reaction to Captain Underpants and our ramping up the war on terror at home in response, is playing right into AQAP's hands. AQAP is not Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is not highly centralized, it's made up of off-shoots. Yemen is not the new Afghanistan or Iraq.
I hope we don't get so bogged down in territorial debates between the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, or reports about a small number of former prisoners in the U.S. going to Yemen to help AQAP, we once again miss the forest for the trees.
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