Evidence of increasing alliance between
Islamic militants in Somalia, Yemen and Al-
By C. L. Staten, Senior Analyst
Emergency Response & Research Institute (ERRI)
Increasingly, it would appear that our previous fears of an
alliance between Islamic militants in Somalia and Al-Qaeda
were warranted. These concerns, first expressed (but not
initially confirmed) in our 2008 briefing about ‘piracy off the
coast of Somalia’ (1), have recently proven all too prescient.
New evidence of ties between al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Shahbaab in Somalia continue to
come to light.
AQAP was reportedly formed in January of 2009 by a merger between two
regional offshoots of the international Islamist militant network in neighboring
Yemen and Saudi Arabia. (2)
Led by a former aide to Osama Bin Laden, the group has vowed to attack oil
facilities, foreigners and security forces as it seeks to topple the Saudi monarchy
and Yemeni government, and establish an Islamic caliphate throughout the area.
AQAP has claimed responsibility for a number of
attacks in the two countries over the past 12 months,
and has been blamed by President Barack Obama for
attempting to blow up a US passenger jet as it flew into
Detroit on Christmas Day.
US investigators said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (The Nigerian
man suspected of attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner
in December) told them he was trained and instructed in the plot
by al Qaeda in Yemen. Abdulmutallab (right) reportedly also had
ties to a cleric named al-Awlaki (below, left), who currently is
believed to be hiding in Yemen. (3)
Multiple investigations of Anwar al-Awlaki (left), including of his
recently published threats against the West, would seem to
indicate an on-going terror campaign now being orchestrated
from the Gulf of Aden area. According to several experts,