Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The American Entrprise Institute's Critical Threats division has a very informative analysis online of the larger political and security ramifications of the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253. See Chris Harnisch, Christmas Day Attack: Manifestation of AQAP Shift Targeting America (Dec. 27, 2009) (available here). From the summary:
The war between the United States and militant Islamists on the Arabian Peninsula reached a boiling point this December. The Yemeni government, with the pressure and assistance of the U.S. military, dealt a significant blow to al Qaeda’s operations on the Peninsula, which are based out of Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was targeted in bombing raids and ground attacks on December 17 and December 24, reportedly killing several senior AQAP leaders. Statements from AQAP over the past few months have hinted at the group’s desire to shift its primary focus from targeting Yemeni and Saudi interests to targeting the United States and its interests. The desire to hit the U.S. appears to have grown exponentially in the aftermath of the recent Yemeni and U.S. attacks on the group. AQAP nearly realized its goal of killing Americans when it deployed an operative to blow-up a plane carrying 289 people in the skies over Michigan.