AQ of the Arabian Peninsula Claims Paris Attacks: An Analysis
Analyst Comment in Here: The claim by AQAP that the Kouachi brother were members of the group is a significant move on the extremist stage. By taking the responsibility they gladly position themselves as the standardbearers for the inevitable French initiated, US supported retaliation against them. The radicalization of the brothers, providing training and money to acquire weapons is significant, but particularly in the sense that recently AQAP was unsuccessful in carrying out terror projection through its attempted attacks on the United States in retaliation for the killing of their spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki by Predator drone in 2011. As they are struggling in Yemen and under constant pressure from the US, the second best thing for AQAP was to allow the prepositioned Kouachi brothers to conduct an easy attack on Charlie Hebdo to inspire others and to seize the mantle of Defenders of Islam and act in the name of the Muslim world by “Avenging the Prophet Mohammed.”
It seems that the Kouachi brothers were drawn spiritually to al-Awlaki in the same manner as Major Nidal Hassan was before he carried out his massacre at Ft Hood in 2009. They read his online sermons and spoke to radicalized people they trusted before pledging to Join-the-Jihad (JTJ). However this is less of a indicator of AQAP’s ability to project terror power than evidence of its abaility to use the internet and social media to exploit disenfranchised or unstable young men and women to carry out murder for a ideology that is nothing less than cultist. The Charlie Hebdo attacks do not signify that AQAP is again taking the lead in the Bin laden jihad or in competition with ISIS to damage the west. It does signify that all Bin Ladenist inspired neo-Salafist groups are striking where they can and when they can by whatever means in its continuing mission to damage Islam by attacking and killing on-Muslims and Muslims alike. The target is Islam and destabilizing the west to hate Muslims and thus bring the Muslim world to the cause of Bin Ladenism is the entire reason d’etre of all of these groups. To them it is a multigenerational mission.