August 06, 2013

Video: Al Qaeda's Critical Threat

Originally published in AEIdeas

The recent al Qaeda threat is real, though little is known about the exact target of the attack, or where it will occur. A number of factors indicate that the attack initially expected on August 4 may have been planned for August 7. 

The extended state of alert in the region, particularly in Yemen, reveals the continued threat against American interests. It is possible that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) intentionally leaked communications to the American intelligence community to test America’s security posture in the Middle East and North Africa. If this is the case, it is unlikely the attack was intended to occur on August 4. August 7 is a significant date for al Qaeda. It will mark the last day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a period that has historically seen an increase in attacks from al Qaeda groups. It is also the 15-year anniversary of the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and the 23-year anniversary of the first American boots on the Arabian Peninsula under Operation Desert Shield. The exact target of the attack is not clear, though the geographic range of the closed American diplomatic posts all fall within range of AQAP’s external operations.  

The al Qaeda threat remains active. An attack will reveal its capabilities and intentions.