Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) formed in January 2009 as a merger between the Yemeni and Saudi al Qaeda branches. Operatives work in cells throughout the country and rely on tribal support for shelter. The group seeks to establish an Islamic state and has executed attacks on Western interests.
Capabilities: AQAP has historically targeted western interests in Yemen; however, the 2009 Christmas Day attack, October 2010 parcel plot, and May 2012 bomb plot showed that the group has international capabilities.
English-language outreach: AQAP is the first al Qaeda franchise to publish in English. Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born cleric, headed the group's English-language outreach from Yemen and advocated for the Muslim community to wage violent jihad.
Guantanamo Detainees: Yemen continues to be a destination for former Guantanamo detainees, some of whom are part of the AQAP leadership.
AQAP a Resurgent Threat, CTC Sentinel
The Threat from al Qaeda
IN THIS SECTION
Iranian activities in Yemen are not about Yemen. They are, rather, part of the regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran that is now playing out on battlefields and in political and diplomatic arenas throughout the Middle East.
AQAP is well on its way to reconstituting the emirate it held in 2011 and 2012 almost unnoticed by the outside world. U.S. airstrikes have had no effect at all on its expansion and have not significantly degraded the group’s ability to target the United States. AQAP is becoming an ever-more serious threat to American national security, and no one is doing much about it.
An archive of the 2016 Yemen Crisis Situation Reports.
Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate has been quietly expanding as the country descends further into civil war. It may be one of the few beneficiaries of Yemen’s collapse, other than the Islamic State, which is developing its own Yemeni franchise.
The terrorist threat from Yemen is growing. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has expanded and strengthened as the Yemeni state has collapsed. The US must identify a way forward and lead a coordinated regional response in Yemen.
The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is attempting to expand its footprint in Yemen. A Timestream case study reveals insights into ISIS's reach inside of Yemen.
The al Houthi movement, an armed Zaydi Shi’a group that fought six wars with the Yemeni state between 2004 and 2010, expanded its influence in Yemen considerably in 2014.
The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) claimed a coordinated attack in Yemen’s capital hours after it occurred. The timing of ISIS’s spectacular attack may mark the beginning of an ISIS Ramadan offensive in Yemen.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) ability to produce and train new leaders remains unabated despite years of Yemeni and U.S. counterterrorism operations. AQAP’s resilience stems from its formalized mid-level leadership structure with three components: a chain of command, a training and education program, and a consistent promotion process.