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Originally published in the Hudson Institute’s Current Trends in Islamist Ideology Journal
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is a grave security threat to both Yemen and the West. This was most devastatingly proved on January 7, 2015, when the group carried out a bombing attack against police cadets in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, killing dozens. Shortly thereafter, they likely perpetrated their first attack on Western soil.
Said and Cherif Kouachi, who had both travelled to Yemen in 2011 and are thought to have received training and financing from AQAP, murdered twelve staff members at the Parisian offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. In the days after the Charlie Hebdo attack, AQAP claimed credit for the operation. In fact, the group had already identifiedCharlie Hebdo’s editor as a target for assassination in the spring 2013 edition of Inspire, AQAP’s propaganda magazine…