Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula AQAP: Meaning & Philosophy

Al Qaeda (meaning the base) in the Arabian Peninsula (region North East of Africa) or AQAP is a regional militant group that particularly operates in Arabian Peninsula and Saudi Arabia. Inspired by Laden’s fatwa urging Muslims to “expel the infidels out of the Arabian Peninsula.” and it strives to create an Islamic caliphate by breaking down current political states in Arabian Peninsula.

The primary goals of AQAP are consistent with the principles of militant jihad, which aims to purge Muslim countries of Western influence and replace secular “apostate” governments with fundamentalist Islamic regimes operating under sharia law.

AQAP also works to marginalize Shiites, especially in Northern Yemen, thus following age old ideology of against Shiites.

Fighters are veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but are also international recruits who attended religious schools in Yemen. This gives the group a more “international outlook” with connections abroad, as foreigners come from Pakistan, Sudan, Germany etc.

AQAP can plot attacks that do not require large amounts of money. AQAP in a way that is designed to survive the loss of key cell leaders. To avoid that, there exists Emirs or commanders within them.

AQAP has resorted to conventional and no conventional ways to attack its enemies and recruit more members. More specifically, in Yemen, AQAP assassinates local officials to promote fear and dissuade dissenters from rising up against AQAP. AQAP refuses to engage politically and focuses its efforts on fighting.

AQAP releases publications from Inspire, an English- language publication as a tactic to expand Al Qaeda’s network to include English-speaking Muslims globally. The group also has an Arabic language magazine called “Echo of the Epics. So operation is regional and awareness is global.

AQAP uses parcel bomb attack a new shift in tactics. The leadership states that it is not necessary to carry out large-scale 9/11 attacks. Instead, the group can conduct smaller operations, where less is at stake; yet if several attacks succeed, the cumulative effect will bring down US confidence in security and an impact on the economy.

AQAP maintains a strong relationship with the community in Yemen in order to gain clout, a basin for recruitment, and protection to win favour of communities to weave the group into the local fabric of Yemeni society. AQAP attempts to appeal to a broad audience by exploiting local frustrations to attract new members. The group focuses recruitment videos on corruption and the failing of the Yemeni government, rather than global jihad to broaden support.

Additionally, AQAP is different from other regional al Qaeda groups in that it has not only claimed but also begun to govern select cities in southern Yemen. The heavy political unrest that began in Yemen in 2011 allowed AQAP to expand unchecked and take control of territory. AQAP started its offensive when Yemen was in the midst of intensifying rebel movements and a fight for power between rival government and military factions. This left the government distracted and unable to challenge the militants. AQAP will likely continue to be a domestic and translational threat as long as the Yemeni government and security apparatus remains divided and distracted, and is thus unable to devote the time and resources needed to root out the group

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