Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: The rise of AQAP dissected

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,345

    Default The rise of AQAP dissected

    I am sure AQAP feature in a number of threads, but to my surprise it does not have its own thread.

    The catalyst for my thoughts came from this excellent CNN article, by Paul Cruickshank; which opens:
    There may be a link between what sources tell CNN is evidence of final-stage planning for an attack against U.S and Western interests by al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and the reported recent appointment of the affiliate's leader as the new general manager of the global al Qaeda network.

    Seth Jones, a senior analyst at the Rand Corporation, told CNN's Barbara Starr on Friday that intelligence indicated that Nasir al Wuhayshi, the Yemeni leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), had recently been appointed into the role by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.

    The appointment would effectively thrust Wuhayshi, a Yemeni national, into the No. 2 position in the global al Qaeda terrorist network, a position previously held by the Libyan Abu Yahya al Libi before his death in a drone strike in Pakistan in June 2012.
    Link:http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/0...-chief-deputy/

    Note revenge for losses, invariably caused by drone strikes, plays a large role.

    ICSR predicted this role a year ago:http://icsr.info/2012/05/icsr-insigh...ous-franchise/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-04-2013 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Add last line and link
    davidbfpo

  2. #2
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I am sure AQAP feature in a number of threads, but to my surprise it does not have its own thread.

    The catalyst for my thoughts came from this excellent CNN article, by Paul Cruickshank; which opens:

    Link:http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/0...-chief-deputy/

    Note revenge for losses, invariably caused by drone strikes, plays a large role.

    ICSR predicted this role a year ago:http://icsr.info/2012/05/icsr-insigh...ous-franchise/
    David,

    Good find, but my first reaction is this is just the theme from the movie Groundhog Day.

    http://www.transparencynow.com/groundhog.htm

    And, once again, due to inclement weather, he is forced to spend the night. When he wakes up the next morning, it is the same day as yesterday and the day before, with the same oncoming snowstorm keeping him stuck in town and the same events repeating themselves like a broken record.
    Is this Al-Qaeda 3.0 or 4.0, or does it really matter? It is clear our strategic approach to defeat Al-Qaeda by denying them safe haven in Afghanistan failed, and in some respects even backfired because it is draining our collective bank accounts and making us look impotent to no discernible end.

    Based on the story you posted, some quick observations:

    1. Al-Qaeda can't co-exist with us, it is against their core philosophy. The take away is Al-Qaeda continues to be at war with the West. We can't wish the threat away. They may claim they're acting in revenge of certain leaders being killed, but if that wasn't the case they would still attack for some other reason like they did on 9/11/01 (and several other attacks prior to that and our drone program).

    2. Our current approach to defeating Al-Qaeda with large occupation efforts to deny safe haven doesn't work and it is too expensive to sustain. The use of drones to disrupt AQ is sustainable if it is done with more caution in the future. Al-Qaeda is wisely using the drone war as justification for a pending attack hoping we'll be pressured by public opinion to stop using drones. We can't afford to play into their hands again by removing one our more effective means to disrupt them. The fact is they will continue to attack us regardless of whether we cancel the drone strikes or not, and while it is uncomfortable with some, our drone strikes have probably saved countless lives in the West. I do agree that more effort must be made to prevent collateral damage, but that is a far step from cancelling the use of drones because it upsets our adversary. We can also use SOF to continue to kill or capture them.

    3. We need to accept that this form of terrorism will have a long life span. We have demonstrated we don't know how to defeat them strategically (at least yet), so we need a sustainable approach working with our partners to continue to collect intelligence and disruption operations to protect our citizens.

  3. #3
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    We need to accept that this form of terrorism will have a long life span. We have demonstrated we don't know how to defeat them strategically (at least yet), so we need a sustainable approach working with our partners to continue to collect intelligence and disruption operations to protect our citizens.
    We need to pursue and disrupt, but we also need to starve them of recruits and funding by disrupting their primary narrative. If we've learned anything over the past decade, we've learned that Western occupation of Muslim countries is what AQ thrives on: whatever they lose to immediate interdiction in the occupied country they gain in credibility elsewhere. For me a long range strategy would aim to deprive AQ of ideological food by refraining from occupation or extended presence.

    I suspect that as we draw down in Afghanistan we will enter a very dangerous time. They need a foreign occupier to wage jihad against; it's a critical part of their identity. They will be very eager to bait the US into another adventure, and that will make another major attack very likely. We need to be alert, and if they manage to get through the defenses and mount a successful attack, we need to see the bait for what it is and not fall into the trap of giving them what they want (again).
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  4. #4
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Some additional information from the longwarjournal for consideration.

    Global al Qaeda: Affiliates, objectives, and future challenges

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...qaeda_affi.php

    The Al Qaeda Network is not comprised of automatons. Like all manmade organizations, the terror network houses personalities who may clash and sometimes have competing interests. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the network has "fragmented" or "splintered," as some analysts contend. Keep in mind this striking example: Prior to 9/11 there was a significant amount of internal dissent over whether al Qaeda should launch its most devastating attack in history. The 9/11 attacks became al Qaeda's signature strike, and yet several high-level al Qaeda members disagreed with bin Laden's decision to move forward with the operation. This did not force these senior jihadists outside of al Qaeda's ranks. In fact, some of them went on to praise the 9/11 attacks after the fact while maintaining their leadership positions.
    Headquartered in Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is led by Nasir al Wuhayshi, a terrorist who served as Osama bin Laden's aide-de-camp for several years prior to 9/11. Wuhayshi was bin Laden's protg and remained loyal to the al Qaeda master even through the darkest times, including the Battle of Tora Bora in late 2001, when all could have been lost. Bin Laden later returned the favor, rejecting a plea by some AQAP members to replace Wuhayshi as their leader with Anwar al Awlaki, the charismatic al Qaeda ideologue who has since been killed in a drone strike. Some of Wuhayshi's most trusted lieutenants, including several former Guantanamo detainees, also served al Qaeda in Afghanistan well before the 9/11 attacks. Together, they are advancing al Qaeda's global jihadist agenda, simultaneously fighting for territory inside Yemen while overseeing plots against the United States.
    Today, the Al Qaeda Network is more geographically diverse than ever. Al Qaeda and its affiliates are fighting in more countries than at any other time before or after 9/11. It has several established affiliates, which it lacked on September 11, 2001. The ebb and flow of fighting changes the scope of al Qaeda's footprint on a regular basis, but the network has shown the capacity to challenge for territory across Africa, through the Middle East and into Central and South Asia. Meanwhile, al Qaeda's general command maintains safe havens in the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan today.
    AQAP has emerged as a threat to the U.S. Homeland. AQAP was decimated after 2003 by a relentless counterterrorism campaign. But in early 2009 the group was reborn after al Qaeda's Saudi and Yemeni wings united. By December 25, 2009, AQAP had placed a suicide bomber on board a Detroit-bound plane. Luck and the vigilance of the passengers on board Flight 253 saved the day. Prior to the Christmas Day bombing attempt, many counterterrorism analysts assumed that AQAP was only interested in attacking targets inside Yemen. Several attempted attacks by AQAP have followed that initial failure.
    http://www.longwarjournal.org/multim...men-strike.php

    Charting the data for US air strikes in Yemen, 2002 - 2013

  5. #5
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,345

    Default The "old guard" -v- "new bombs in new bottles"

    Excellent analysis by Clint Watts on FPRI:http://www.fpri.org/geopoliticus/201...sm-competition

    Curious that he concludes an internal power struggle is partly responsible:
    In conclusion, Zawahiri’s plotting of a spectacular attack and nomination of Wuyashi may be the result of internal forces--competition with AQ in Iraq-–more than external forces. Zawahiri needs a big attack to reassert his authority and curb the growth of a rival. AQ in Iraq’s growth and Baghdadi’s rebuttal may have pushed Zawahiri to rush an attack and in the process led to its detection. I'm guessing that only time will tell. Overall, Zawahiri and “Old Guard” al-Qaeda may be returning their focus to global attacks or attacks on Westerners, say in Egypt, to regain momentum and increase their appeal to a new generation of recruits and donors. If Zawahiri doesn’t act soon, the global jihad will pass him by.
    From a different perspective RUSI's Raffaello Pantucci adds:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment.../#.UgCcUdLvvfI
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-06-2013 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Add 2nd link
    davidbfpo

  6. #6
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,345

    Default The correct strategy and AQAP grows?

    Within the media furore over a potential attack are many questions, within this NYT piece on the situation in the Yemen Gregory Johnsen rightly asks:
    If the Obama administration is confident that its strategy in Yemen is correct, then why is Al Qaeda growing in Yemen and why is the group still capable of forcing the United States to shut down embassies in more than a dozen countries?
    Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/wo...pagewanted=all
    davidbfpo

Similar Threads

  1. Yemen: all you want (2011-2015)
    By SWJ Blog in forum Middle East
    Replies: 237
    Last Post: 12-31-2015, 11:57 PM
  2. Taliban successes in the North
    By SWJED in forum OEF - Afghanistan
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 05-20-2013, 03:36 AM
  3. Results of "One Year After Bin Laden" Poll
    By CWOT in forum Catch-All, GWOT
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-04-2013, 02:42 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •