AQAP’s objectives are unclear and unrealistic, leading some to believe AQAP is a front for US presence
Many respondents commented on what they deemed were unclear and unrealistic goals laid down by AQAP. While some cited the establishment of Sharia law or the use of Yemen as a launch pad for further attacks to conquer neighboring lands as AQAP objectives, others explained that AQAP’s failure to achieve these goals was due to the fact that AQAP did not know what it was doing and that it is a belligerent group with only one real objective: to fight for the sake of fighting. Indeed, while AQAP claim their goals are to unite Islamic lands in one caliphate, they are instead killing their own ...view middle of the document...
In September 2013, AQAP carried out major attacks against military bases in Shabwah. Most AQAP attacks involve small-scale bombings and shootings using RPGs and light automatic weapons. The target of the attacks is most often police stations and buildings belonging to the security forces or intelligence services. Other targets in Shabwah include oil installations. Ambushes mainly target members of the armed forces and army convoys, as well as camps serving as bases for soldiers in charge of guarding oil wells in the area. Al Qa’ida militants also regularly set off car bombs and launch co-ordinated attacks on Yemeni military barracks in Shabwah. AQAP is also known to kidnap and then execute Yemeni troops.
REO communication efforts with locals (GQ) (DI)/ Recruitment efforts in mosques, madrasas, etc.(DI)
AQAP uses emotive and ideological rhetoric to attract youth
Respondents reported that AQAP uses emotive religious rhetoric to attract followers, especially from among the younger generation. By rebranding itself as Ansar Al Sharia, AQAP emphasized its implementation of Sharia, a concept which many in the area rushed instinctively to support. AQAP and its affiliated groups also claim to be attempting to create a suitable ground for the army they believe will free Jerusalem and Palestine and defeat the “Zionists and Crusaders”. Indeed, AQAP bases much of its recruitment efforts on widespread anti-US feelings. To do so, AQAP make use of videos that highlight the casualties and damages caused by US bombings. Respondents reported that residents of regions such as Shabwah, where drone strikes occur frequently, are more likely to be responsive to this type of discourse. Al Qa’ida also took particular advantage of the popular unrest in Yemen caused by the American-made movie “The innocence of Muslims” in 2012 which ridiculed and insulted the Prophet to recruit new members. As well as drawing attention to US policy blunders, AQAP also highlights Saudi Arabian policy flops, albeit to a lesser extent. By extension, it also calls for the targeting of the Yemeni Government and its armed forces as puppets...