The Malahim Foundation, the media wing of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has issued a statement on the forums today claiming responsibility for the attempted attack on a Detroit-bound commercial airplane on Christmas Day. 

The statement claims that the “martyrdom-seeking mujahid brother ‘Umar Faruq” attempted the attack “in coordindation with mujahidin in the Arabian Peninsula” in retaliation for US airstrikes on AQAP targets in Yemen.  The message boasts that Faruq’s successful negotiation of airport security in getting on the plane was further proof that the AQAP had perfected its detection-resistant bomb technology, claims that a technical fault frustrated Faruq’s attempt, and vows that “we will continue on this path with God’s permission until we have obtained our objective.”

The message then addresses appeals to various audiences to take up arms against Americans and American interests. “All Muslims of fervid faith and belief” are called upon to help expell infidels from the Arabian Peninsula, by killing “Crusaders” in their embassies or elsewhere.  All soldiers and others employed by Crusader and Crusader-puppet governments are called on to follow the example of Nidal Hassan, who “won a victory for the religion of God” by seeking to “kill the Crusaders will all available means.”  Americans are warned of retribution for the killing of Muslims by their leaders, ominously promising that women and children are fair targets, for “as you kill so shall we kill.”

The message ends with calls on God for the safety and release of Umar Faruq and all Muslim prisoners everywhere, and is signed Qa’idat al-Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, 9 Muharram 1431 (12/26/2009).

  1. Mark Stout says:

    When did the strikes in Yemen start? I’m always rather suspicious of claims that X attack is in response to Y recent event. There’s a lot of logistics that goes into such an attack. Successful such attacks–as successful special operations, for that matter–aren’t just done on the fly.

  2. Vahid Brown says:

    Mark,
    Agreed. This is clearly propaganda and meant to grab the microphone of the post facto news cycle. As reported by Yemeni authorities (see, e.g., http://www.almotamar.net/news/76788.htm), ‘Umar Faruq ‘Abd al-Muttalib was in Yemen between August and early December, 2009, while the first US-assisted attack took on AQAP in Yemen took place on December 17. Obviously, he cannot have been dispatched on a mission to retaliate for events that were yet to occur.

  3. Vahid Brown says:

    Also, see Gregory Johnsen’s timeline of recent developments at Waq al-Waq, here:
    http://islamandinsurgencyinyemen.blogspot.com/2009/12/weeks-in-review-former-guantanamo-bay.html

  4. Albrecht Metzger says:

    Dear Vahid,

    I am a journalist from Germany, writing for the weekly DIE ZEIT. I am working on a story about the new generation of al-Qaida in Yemen (I was there in October). I was wondering if I could make a little interview with you in the next few days (my deadline is Monday morning). It would be nice to hear from you.
    Best
    Albrecht Metzger

  5. Pat Ryan says:

    Vahid:

    Thanks for the great post. I wanted to comment on one portion of your statement:

    “Obviously, he cannot have been dispatched on a mission to retaliate for events that were yet to occur.”

    While Umar Farouq was not physically dispatched after the 17 Dec US-Yemeni strikes, I think it’s plausible, and even likely, that the timeline for his attack was accelerated in response to the strikes. Although he was not physically in Yemen, it’s easy to think that he was ordered to conduct the attack via cell phone/internet comms. This order (potentially issued on 24 Dec) might have even served as the trigger for the second strike by the Yemeni Air Force on that night. Without access to classified reporting, we don’t know for sure, but it’s possible.

    Either way, AQAP clearly capitalized on the Dec 17 and Dec 24 strikes to gain more attention and drive a wedge further between the Sunni populace of Yemen and the national goverment.

    For more, please see my post at: http://al-sahwa.blogspot.com/2009/12/aqap-claims-failed-midair-plot.html

  6. Somali says:

    Thanks to Mr. Omer.
    We are Somali, our country emerged a crusade army, so, we, Somali, are ready to make like this way, because every day our people killed.
    Viva ALqaeda, Viva Al shabaab

  7. BT says:

    Vahid & Pat, you are correct in your assessment. In my view they seem to have had people in place and waiting. It is unlikely to push forward such an operation with such short notice unless they did.

    It is possible prepared for event such as the Attack in Yemen on AQAP and were able to capitalize on that event? In my view it is more likely they were amid an ongoing operation, or were vetting the system for future operations when this occurred. Was this timed because of the holiday in the U.S. when holiday travelers are abundant? Was this a test run? It would be interesting to determine if there were other potentially similar smuggling attempts or explosive related incidents recently, at other international airports, if so that could have been a key indicator that the threat levels should have been increased. Due to the lack of international sharing of this kind of intelligence this could have easily have been the case.

    Your perspectives of the evolving threat in this regarding would be interesting. In my view, AQAP see this as a success and a dry run for future operations which will be forth coming in the not so distant future.

    Best Regards

    BT

  8. BT says:

    Vahid & Pat, you are correct in your assessment. In my view they seem to have had people in place and waiting. It is unlikely they would be able to push forward such an operation with such short notice.

    Is it possible that they prepared for event in advance expecting an Attack like that which took place in Yemen? Can APAQ so quickly capitalize on such an event? In my view it is more likely they were amid an ongoing operation, or were vetting the system for future operations when this occurred. Was this timed because of the holiday in the U.S. when holiday travelers are abundant? Was this a test run? It would be interesting to determine if there were other potentially similar smuggling attempts or explosive related incidents recently, at other international airports, if so, this would have been a key indicator that the threat levels should have been increased. Due to the lack of international sharing between counterterrorism elements this could have easily have been the case.

    Your perspectives of the evolving threat in this regarding would be interesting. In my view, AQAP see this as a success and a dry run for future operations which will be forth coming in the not so distant future.

    Best Regards

    BT

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