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Focus on Islamism
Thursday 28th January 2010
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: One Year On

SHIRAZ MAHER

I've got the latest statement here from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) celebrating their first anniversary, before which its local chapters in Saudi Arabia and Yemen operated entirely independently.It has already launched a number of high profile attacks, quickly earning itself a very dangerous reputation. The group's statement is replicated below, interspersed with some commentary.

A Statement Marking the One Year Anniversary of the Founding of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula
In the name of Allah, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful.
All praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and upon his family, his Companions, and those who follow his footsteps until the day of Judgment.
To proceed:
Every once in a while an important event takes place, the significance of which is not immediately apparent. It is only after a period of time passes that the enormity of the event is fully recognised. Such an event took place exactly one year ago today: on January 20th 2009.
On that day an announcement was posted to the jihadist forums, informing the Believers of the merger of two branches of the al-Qaida organisation: the branches in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
This new organisation would be known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and would be lead by Amir Abu Basir - Nasir al-Wahayshi (may Allah protect him), along with his deputy Sheikh Abu Sufyan - Said al-Shihri (may Allah protect him)
[...]

Said al-Shihri's announcement as deputy is particularly significant here. He was originally arrested in Afghanistan, taken to Guantanamo Bay, released from there into the Saudi government's ‘rehabilitation' programme  before absconding and fleeing to Yemen where he joined up with AQAP. In a video statement released last year he declared:

By Allah, imprisonment only increased our persistence in our principles for which we went out, did jihad for, and were imprisoned for.

The anniversary statement from AQAP continues:

In twelve short months Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have achieved the following:

1.)    Targeted the heads of Disbelief even while they hid behind their Palace walls, in the operation which targeted Muhammad bin Nayef. Every one of the Idol Kings of the Arabs will now sleep less soundly: knowing that the Lions of Tawhid [monotheism] are coming for them soon!

Prince Muhammad bin Nayef is head of Saudi security and offered an amnesty to 83 al-Qaeda fugitives, asking them to surrender in return for more lenient sentences. Among those eligible for the amnesty was Abdullah Hassan Al Aseery, a member of AQAP, who asked to surrender himself in person to the prince. When Aseery finally met Nayef, he detonated plastic explosives which had been concealed in his anal cavity. The resulting explosion injured Nayef but failed to kill him.

It was an early signal of intent - and ambition - by AQAP. The group has been keen to capture international attention ever since by lunching a series of high profile attacks.

2.)    Sent the Western world into a spin, forcing the infidels to spend many billions of dollars upgrading their airport security, following the operation of Umar al-Farouq (may Allah free him)

Of course, AQAP was also behind the abortive Christmas day attack on Delta Airlines led by Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab.

3.)    Revealed the treachery of the Yemeni army, their disregard for the blood and honour of the Muslims, their complicity in the crimes of the Zionist-Crusaders; and therefore the obligation of fighting them.

4.)    Clearly identified their long and short-term objectives, and proved the religious legitimacy of their acts with stirring speeches from Sheikh Ibrahim al-Rubaish, Commander Muhammad ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Rashid and Sheikh Abu Zubair Adil al-Abab (may Allah protect them all)

In a brazen move of open defiance, just a few days before sending Abdulmutallab on his mission, leaders of AQAP appeared at a public rally in Yemen issuing demands to the government. One address directed at the Army warned:

[Yemeni] Soldiers, you should know that we do not want to fight you. There is no problem between you and us. Our problem is with America and its allies. Beware taking the side of America.

In little over a year AQAP has already established itself as a serious force to be reckoned with, launching a series of audacious attacks at targets both within the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. They warn of more attacks in the year ahead, something that Western intelligence analysts ignore at their peril.

*This statement was taken from an al-Qaeda forum to which we cannot link.

 
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About Focus on Islamism

Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.

Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London.  He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon. 

To contact the authors, click here

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