The future of AQAP after Saudi prince’s attack

ANALYSIS-Saudi attack evokes fears of Yemen-based militancy | Reuters

An attempt to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s security chief, who is a prominent member of the royal family, appears to mark a new tactic by an al Qaeda network that is exploiting worsening instability in neighbouring Yemen.

A suicide bomber posing as a repentant militant failed to kill Prince Mohammed bin Nayef at his Jeddah office on Thursday in the first known attack on a Saudi royal since al Qaeda began a bloody campaign in the world’s top oil exporter in 2003.

“If it had been successful, it would have been an incredibly significant propaganda victory for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),” said Christopher Boucek, an associate of the Carnegie Middle East Programme. “But it’s not on the level of sophistication seen in previous multiple, coordinated attacks.”

…AQAP is led by a Yemeni, Nasser al-Wahayshi, but it named as commanders two Saudis freed from the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay who had later graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation scheme for militants — run by Prince Mohammed.

NYT:

Six weeks ago, after secret trials, more than 300 militants, many accused of having ties to the Qaeda network, were tried and convicted, and some were given prison terms of 30 years, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Jamal A. Khashoggi, the editor of Saudi Arabia’s Al Watan newspaper, said he feared that the attack was a sign of a new tactic for Al Qaeda. Prevented by security operations from carrying out complex bombing attacks, he said, the militants may shift to strategic assassinations of leaders to destabilize the Saudi state.

“It is serious,” he said. “What I am afraid of is that Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia will be transformed into an assassin’s group.”

Poligazzette:

Al Jazeera talked to Hussein Shobokshi, a columnist for the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic newspaper, who said the attempted assassination was risky for Al Qaeda because it would take the kingdom’s war on terror to an entirely new level.

“It has also created an incredible amount of sympathy for the government,” he said. The government’s response is likely to be “strong, consistent and with enormous popular backing.”

The above leads me to believe that Al Qaeda is becoming pretty desperate. Not only can they expect the royal family to strike back hard, but they’ll also lose a lot of goodwill among the population for two reasons: the attack, of course, but also its timing.

Related: Inside AQ underground torture bunkers.

Before:
Attacked Saudi prince is now more resolved to fight terror.
AQ claims Prince Nayef’s attack.
Suicide bomber injures Saudi Prince.

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2 Responses to “The future of AQAP after Saudi prince’s attack”

  1. […] The future of AQAP after Saudi prince’s attack. Attacked Saudi prince is now more resolved to fight terror. AQ claims Prince Nayef’s attack. […]

  2. […] The future of AQAP after Saudi prince’s attack « Terrorism Awareness …AQAP is led by a Yemeni, Nasser al-Wahayshi, but it named as commanders two Saudis freed from the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay who had later graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation scheme for militants — run by Prince Mohammed. (tags: AQAP Yemen Nasser al-Wahayshi Saudi_Arabia GITMO Prince_Mohammed_bin_Nayef) […]

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