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Al-Qaedain the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen)

Inmodern times, just the mention of the word terrorism, what comes topeoples mind is the current execution actions being undertaken bygroups such as ISIS, however, with the mention of the 9/11 thedevastating memories come to the mind of the terrorist attack in theUnited States by one of the world’s most infamous terroristorganization which is believed to base in the Arab world, ‘theAl-Qaeda’.Osama bin Laden, was the group’s maiden leader, and the group hadits worst impact felt at the time of his leadership, but after hisdeath, in May 2011 the group was weakened. The Al-Qaeda group hasoperated, and continues to operate in different Arabic nations whereit has support. Some of the countries the group operates includeAfghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, African countries such as Libya,Egypt among other Arabic countries globally. This paper looks intothe Al-Qaeda in theArabianPeninsula (Yemen).

Sinceits establishment in in 2009, AlQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)&nbspradicallyincreased its strength as it greatly exploited the unsettledconditions in Yemen. One of the factors that contributed to theshifting or establishment of Al-Qaeda group in Yemen is due to thefact that the Saudi Arabian kingdom denied operating space in thekingdom, in turn forcing the group operatives in Yemen. Al-Qaedais a Sunni Islamist militant group that was founded by Osama binLaden in the year 1988. The group main reason for existence is toeliminate the influence of the western countries in the Arabcountries (Phillips,2011).This influence involves the removal of western military from the Arabcountries as well as other influences such as investments andbusiness. The Al-Qaeda group is associated with major operations inthe western countries which include bombing of two US embassies inAfrica as well as the hit on the World Trade Centre in New York in2001 after hijacking a plane. The group is made up of organized cellsand subsections, one of them being the Al-Qaeda in the ArabianPeninsula (AQAP).

TheAQAP is a constituent of the Al-Qaeda, whose base is in Yemen, acountry neighboring Oman and Saudi Arabia. It targets the foreignerssuch as tourist groups, western oil companies, embassies and staff.They also started to target the Yemeni police and military like inOctober 31, 2005 where they killed 12 policemen in Sadah city afterambushing them unexpectedly (&quotAl Qaeda in Yemen&quot). Theyalso conducted smaller attacks on civilians. Al- Qaeda were firstnoted in the Arabian Peninsula in 2000 after they claimedresponsibility for bombing the USS Cole in the Aden harbor where 17were killed. In 2003 the group using suicide bombers bombed 3 WesternHousing compounds in Riyadh killing 29.

TheSaudi Arabian forces, however, tried to contain them, but the groupstill attacked Muhayyah residential compound killing 17 people. Theirleader was, however, killed in 2004 by Saudi troops. This seemed asif the group had been crushed, but they astonished the public when 23of its prisoners escaped from a Yemeni prison. Though most of thosewho escaped were captured or killed, two managed to escape one ofthem Nasar al-Wahayshi reemerged as the leader of the group. Thegroup then started publishing a newspaper in 2008 which acted as away of seeking recruits for the group. In 2008 September, the AQAPattacked the American Embassy in Sanaa and killed 12. Nasar led thegroup until its merger but the Saudi forces suppressed the groupoperations (Barfi,2010).

TheSaudi forces gained the upper hand by killing most of the group’sleaders and members. The group however re-emerged stronger in 2009January as a new AQAP was formed. This was through a merge betweenthe Yemen and Saudi branches of Al-Qaeda after some Islamist fightersreturned from Soviet-Afghan war where the Mujahideen fought theSoviet led Afghan forces. The merge was meant to strengthen theinfluence of both the Yemeni and the Saudi Arabia branches since theSaudi forces had strongly overdue the Saudi branch (Barfi,2010).The AQAP first is considered the most precarious branch of theAl-Qaeda. It has led to the Al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen. This is thefight and conflict between the Yemeni government working hand in handwith the United States and the AQAP militants. The Yemeni governmentdeclared open war on this group in 2010 together with the help of theUSA (Raghavan,2012).

AQAPset out its targets in a May 2010 announcement as the &quotejectionof Jews and crusaders&quot from the Arabian Peninsula, there-foundation of the Islamic caliphate, the presentation of Sharia orIslamic law, and the deliverance of Muslim grounds (Phillips,2011).The group also aimed at getting rid of all foreigners and investorsfrom their countries. It also aims at increasing its connections andpopulation by radicalizing new followers, mostly the youth into it.This proposes that the AQAP intends to free Yemen and Saudi Arabia ofnon-Muslims, therefore making the two states of one religion that isIslam (“Al-Qaeda in Yemen”). They also plan to knock down thecountries` administrations and supplement them with their own leadersmaking Saudi Arabia and Yemen Islamic states. They also plan toeliminate all the western influence in the two countries andtherefore govern themselves.

TheAQAP has overtime focused mostly on the non-natives and governmentestablishments in Yemen, and in addition Saudi developers. In 2009,Prince Mohammed container Naif canister Abdul-Aziz, the Saudi Arabianappointee clergyman of inside, survived a bomb assault did by an AQAPactivist as he was considered a foreign investor in Saudi Arabia. Asa result of this many foreign developers have shied off frominvesting in these two countries. Through its Inspire magazine, thegathering likewise would like to radicalize Western Muslims and feedgrass-roots Jihadist activity in Western countries. In November, AQAPmade an announcement to all Muslims around the globe to overlooktheir disparities and replenish their activities, and come togetherto complete operations against American targets, whether regularcitizen, military or discretionary (Smith, 2015). The AQAP has putefforts into changing the faith of the youth and promoting Jihadismby introducing them to their beliefs about the western nations. TheU.S. State Department estimated the group to have 2 hundred to 3hundred members in 2009. This number, however, increased to almost athousand in 2014.

Thegroup also believes in Jihad, which is a religious duty of Muslims offighting against all those who do not agree with the Islamic Allah oracknowledge submission to Muslims. The group therefore believes inthe expulsion of Zionists and crusaders from the Holy land throughdestabilizing Yemen as they believe that this secures a safe heavenfor the Al-Qaeda militants. The AQAP receives most of its financialsupport from the Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Osama believed that Yemen wasthe best place to establish a Muslim state. As a result, most hiscounterparts supported the Yemeni group financially. Other support isfrom its leaders as well as other members who believe in thephilosophies of the group.

Theemergence of the terrorist group in Yemen has led to the securitythreat in the region in addition to increased unrest in the country.This has in turn led to increased conflict between the world securitybodies and the group. This has in turn led to the involvement of theUnited States in an attempt to restore peace in the region. Thestrength of the group has led to the re-establishment of better andrealistic strategies by the US that will lead to the abolishment ofthe group’s activities in the region. With the group’s mainsupport coming from its Al-Qaeda links in Pakistan, includingfinancial support, it has become a challenging fight to completelyeradicate the spread of the group’s attacks.

Conclusion

Itis important to note that AQY`s presence in Yemen has been madepossible by the social conditions in the country. There is widespreadpolitical corruption which prevents its elimination as they can offerbribes to government officials to be helped to stage out theseattacks. There are also high levels of poverty, making it easier toradicalize the poor with the promise of good monetary compensation.The high illiteracy levels also contribute to the prolonged existenceof the group as they can manipulate uneducated individuals usingdoctrine for their own selfish gains. As a result, in order toeliminate this group, the Yemeni government should improve the livingconditions of its citizens first. It should also focus on preventingradicalization of the youth as well as de-radicalizing those alreadyin the group and integrating them back into the community. This canonly be achieved through education.

References

AlQaeda in Yemen. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2015, fromhttp://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/23

Barfi,B. (2010). Yemen on the Brink ? The Resurgence of Al Qaeda InYemen. NewAmerica Foundation,1–28.

Phillips,S. (2011). Al-Qaeda and the Struggle for Yemen. Survival.http://doi.org/10.1080/00396338.2011.555605

Raghavan,S. (2012). In Yemen, tribal militias in a fierce battle with al-Qaedawing. Washington Post.

Smith,L. (2015, January 14). What is al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? -CNN.com. Retrieved April 23, 2015, fromhttp://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/14/middleeast/yemen-al-qaeda-arabian-peninsula/