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.
The Threat from al Qaeda
IN THIS SECTION
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.
An archive of the 2015 Yemen Crisis Situation Reports.
Saudi military deployments to the Yemeni border since Operation Decisive Storm (now Operation Restoring Hope) was launched on March 25, 2015, are drawn from both Royal Saudi Land Forces and Saudi Arabian National Guard units.
Groups claiming loyalty to the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) are emerging throughout Yemen. It is unknown whether these pro-ISIS groups have ties to ISIS in Iraq and whether they operate together or independently. The groups call themselves wilayats (provinces) following standard ISIS practice. There are seven known wilayats operating in ten Yemeni provinces: Sa’ada, Sana’a, al Jawf, al Bayda, Taiz, Ibb, Lahij, Aden, Shabwah, and Hadramawt.