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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yemen Bomb Fulfils Zawahiri Threat

An Al Qaeda suicide bomber carried out Sunday's attack in Yemen, according to officials there.

INTELWIRE readers will recall that a little more than three weeks ago Ayman Al Zawahiri released a video specifically targeting Yemen. All of the media coverage of this video focused on Somalia and virtually ignored the Yemen section. I suggested this was a mistake.

As it turns out, both sections were relevant. The bomber was trained in Somalia.

One a lesson in this -- listen to what Zawahiri says when he talks. The invocation of the Yemen attack was unmistakable, and clearly differed from Zawahiri's ordinary invective.

(Interestingly, there have been some unsubstantiated rumors floating around that Zawahiri was spotted recently in Somalia. This seems somewhat unlikely, but not impossible.)

Another lesson -- corporate Al Qaeda is apparently back (if it was ever really gone). Three weeks ago, Zawahiri released a video featuring himself, his colleagues in Somalia and Al Qaeda's emir Yemen. An attack followed like clockwork.

While this isn't a major operation on the scale of 9/11 or the African embassy bombings, I think there's a deliberate effort here to show some recovery in the core Al Qaeda organization -- especially in the command and control department. "We said we'd do it, we showed the people who would do it, and we did it."


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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