Critical Threats Today
A regular summary of al Qaeda operations in Yemen and Africa as well as major events in Iran.
These are the major events from April 21 for Iran and for al Qaeda operations in Yemen and Africa. Please see the Iran News Roundup, the Gulf of Aden Security Review, and the weekly Threat Update for more details.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) encourages its supporters to conduct attacks abroad as it prioritizes the local fight in Yemen.
AQAP's latest video seeks to inspire supporters to attack the U.S. and describes the U.S. as incapable of launching a third war in Yemen after Iraq and Afghanistan. AQAP reached an agreement with Yemeni tribal leaders in which the group promised not to conduct external attacks in order to avoid U.S. counterterrorism actions in Yemen. AQAP is prioritizing local objectives in Yemen while continuing to influence the global Salafi-jihadi movement. The group continues to develop sophisticated capabilities to conduct attacks against Western targets, but its leadership has made a calculated and strategic decision to avoid drawing a Western response to an attack at this time. (Video obtained through SITE.)
Citations & Links
Kenyan military forces are degrading al Shabaab’s operational capabilities in areas along the Kenyan-Somali border.
Kenyan military forces killed 51 al Shabaab militants during an operation in Badhadhe district in Lower Jubba region on April 21. Kenyan warplanes also struck al Shabaab positions near El Adde in Gedo region on April 16, killing dozens of militants. Al Shabaab has not conducted a mass-casualty attack against Kenyan or Somali military forces since the January 27 attack on a base in Kolbio in Badhadhe district that killed 57 Kenyan soldiers. The Kenyan military increased military operations in Somalia in the months following the Kolbio attack.