Analysis: Al-Qaida exploiting failed states for sovereignty

Takeover of Yemen's Zinjibar shows opportunity unstable regions provide to global jihadist movements seeking pan-Islamic radical state.

May 30, 2011 03:14
2 minute read.
Anwar al Awlaki

Anwar al Awlaki_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The reported takeover of the southern Yemeni town of Zinjibar by armed forces loyal to al-Qaida is a disturbing reminder of the opportunity failed states represent for the global jihadi movement.

Since being formed in the late 1980s in Afghanistan, al- Qaida’s unswerving goal has been to gain sovereignty, and to form a pan-Islamic radical state that would sweep away all current Arab-Muslim and Asian-Muslim regimes. Al- Qaida ideologues have named this vision “the Caliphate.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Yemen civil war averted with tenuous ceasefire
As civil war looms in Yemen, leaders call for Saleh to go

The current wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world is seen by jihadi forces as a pristine opportunity in which they can exploit a breakdown in central governments, as has occurred in Yemen, to make territorial gains.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Yemen, where the most active branch of the terror movement, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is based.

The Yemeni al-Qaida branch’s most notorious member is Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent Yemeni-American jihadi ideologue, who became a symbol of the post-bin Laden al-Qaida network even before American Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this month.

On May 5, the US tried to kill Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, but reportedly did not succeed.

Since fleeing the US for the ungoverned regions of Yemen, Awlaki has released well-made online propaganda in English, which is aimed at gaining recruits from among Muslims living in the West.

He has also been been linked to at least three al- Qaida plots: The failed 2009 Christmas bombing attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit, the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting in Texas, and the 2010 cargo flight explosives plot.

Should al-Qaida-affiliated forces consolidate their control over Zinjibar and other areas of Yemen, the area will certainly be used to plot more international terrorism plots.

Jihadi forces have also marked Pakistan and Somalia as focal points where they hope to plant the seed for a caliphate, and continued to launch systematic terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Such efforts will only be permanently defeated when stable governments with popular local backing can be formed in these areas.

The writer's recently published book, Virtual Caliphate: Exposing the Islamist on the Internet, deals with al-Qaida's presence on the internet.

Related Content

August 17, 2018
German Jewish council urges end of Iran-Germany trade