Vital Information

In 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism, Matt, Vital Information on November 10, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , ,

The Country Reports on Terrorism

2nd installment of Foreign Terrorist Organizations

“Al Qaeda”

That bitter troupe of prep school jihadis and the men who commit murder/suicide for them, just can’t seem to keep themselves out of the news, and it is such a major player in the terrorism field that we will contribute more posts to them in the future. Most recently, it was for the foiled plot on Thursday, October 28th.

PETN, which, of course, stands for pentaerythritol tetranitrate, the same explosive chemical used (almost) by Umar Abdulmutallab last Christmas, was found hidden in cargo on a UPS owned Boeing MD11 at approximately 10:28 ET, at the East Midlands Airport in Nottingham, England; And then another shortly thereafter at a FedEx shipping center in Dubai. Both were stored in ink cartridges within Hewlett-Packard printers.

Al-Qaeda, Arab for “The Base”, is a veteran on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), having been added in 1998. Except they are listed as Al-Qa’ida, which is yet another example of why we just gloss over these Arab names when we read them in the paper, making it harder on ourselves to keep up with events from that part of the world (I mean general world news and not that which is necessarily related to terrorism because apparently there’s like a billion Muslims who aren’t terrorists. I hear that they’re not all Arab, but I’m looking into it and will get back to you on that.) for no implacable reason. Splinter groups also to be honored are Al-Qa’ida in Islamic Magrheb, who got the nod on March 27, 2002, and Al-Qa’ida in Iraq, which was added on December 17, 2004.

However, it’s this new group, Al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that has everyone turning their heads.

They proudly declared their endowment in January 2009 after aggregating two cells previously of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Although they have not yet been declared an FTO by the US government, they were profiled a bit in Country Reports on Terrorism 2009, on pages 146-148 in Chapter 2, in the report on Yemen where they are based. It seems the old Yemen charter absorbed the Saudi branch.

Here is the jist in quotes.


“The security situation in Yemen continued to deteriorate during 2009. Al-Qa‘ida in Yemen (AQY) announced its merger with al-Qa‘ida (AQ) elements in Saudi Arabia in January 2009, creating al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)…

“The government‘s response to the terrorist threat was intermittent, and its ability to pursue and prosecute suspected terrorists remained weak throughout most of the year…

“The government‘s response, however, improved dramatically in December…

“Still, the government‘s focus on other internal security challenges, including the ―Sixth War of the Houthi rebellion in the northern Sa‘ada governorate, which began in August and had not ceased by year‘s end…

It goes on to list a number of terrorist attacks including…

  1. One on South Korean government officials March 18th, 2009;
  2. Then the kidnapping of nine foreign travellers in Yemen in June, with three murdered and six still missing to-date;
  3. “Terrorist elements, either explicitly aligned with AQAP or related actors, attacked Yemeni targets of opportunity in Ma‘rib and Hadramaut in June, July, October, and November; among these incidents was the assassination of three high-level security officials.”;
  4. Also, one “sophisticated robbery of a Yemeni bank truck in Aden on August 17 that resulted in the theft of US$ 500,000” and “showed signs of financial strain” in the organization;
  5. Followed shortly after by “an attempt on Saudi counterterrorism chief Prince Mohammed bin Nayif‘s life in Riyadh on August 27” by suicide bomber and known member Abdullah al-Asiri, who was seeking royal pardon during Ramadan;
  6. All leading up to Abdulamutallab.

In opposition, the Yemeni government…

  1. “On January 19, the Counterterrorism Unit (CTU) conducted a raid on an AQ cell in Sana‘a, which resulted in the death of two suspects, and the capture of another suspect and a weapons cache, including machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades.”;
  2. “In March, Abdullah Abdul-Rahman Mohammed al-Harbi, a Saudi AQAP member, was arrested in Ta‘iz and later returned to Saudi Arabia. Also in Yemen, Naif Duhais Yahya al-Harbi, another Saudi national AQAP member, surrendered and Hasan Hessian bin Alwan, a Saudi AQAP financier, was arrested in June.”;
  3. “On December 17, strikes were conducted on two significant AQAP sites.”;
  4. “Similar strikes followed on December 24.”

In sum…

“Throughout most of the year, prosecuting terrorists remained extremely difficult for Yemeni courts, largely because current law, as applied to counterterrorism and the financing of terrorism, remained weak…

“The absence of effective counterterrorism legislation that criminalized the activities of those engaged in planning and facilitating acts of terrorism, both in Yemen and abroad, contributed to Yemen‘s appeal as a safe haven and potential base of operations for terrorists…

“…terrorism itself is not a defined crime, and therefore not illegal…

“On December 29, however, the Parliament passed long-stalled counterterrorist finance and anti-money laundering legislation that gave the government new powers to investigate and prosecute terrorist financial networks operating inside the country…

“The Department of State provided training and equipment to Yemen‘s security forces in the Ministry of Interior, including the Yemeni Coast Guard and the Central Security Forces Counterterrorism Units (CTU). The United States also supported regional and multilateral efforts to help Yemen stop the flow of funding to terrorism, including regional training of Yemeni officials from the Central Bank, Ministry of Finance, and Financial Intelligence Unit…


Here is a past blog on the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.


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