News DeskOctober 29, 2010 17:39Updated October 30, 2010 12:18
Obama: Yemen plot a "credible terrorist threat"
A GlobalPost primer on the rising threat of extremism in Yemen.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media at the White House regarding suspicious packages found on cargo planes heading from Yemen to the United States, Oct. 29, 2010 in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
BOSTON — The world is abuzz with the latest news out of Yemen. President Barack Obama has confirmed that suspicious packages flown from Yemen to the U.S. contained explosives and has said they constitute a "credible terrorist threat."
While links between the incident and Al Qaeda are still coming to light, there remains a growing threat of radical Islam in Yemen. GlobalPost has been covering this volatile region for the past weeks and months. Here's a quick primer on what is increasingly becoming a hot spot in the global war on terror.
Yemen: Al Qaeda 2.0 — Al Qaeda in Yemen has learned from the mistakes made in Iraq and other battle zones. With dozens of attacks this year on spy and security forces, including deadly raids into the very headquarters of Yemen’s “mukhabarat,” or intelligence branch, Yemen’s newly invigorated Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is reshaping the mission, strategy and tactics of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda brand, experts say.
Yemen: Magnet for refugees and Al Qaeda? — Civil war and lawlessness have turned the Arab world's poorest state into an attractive destination for African refugees and, U.S. spy agencies say, an alternative base for Al Qaeda.
Study abroad with Al Qaeda — In recent years, Yemen has become an international crossroads for militant Islam, attracting numerous extremists from around the world. Among them is radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who has inspired several recent terror attacks on American soil. To learn more about the lives of young Westerners in Yemen who follow this path, American Theo Padnos spent several years infiltrating Yemen's mosques, pretending that he was a radical himself. See this GlobalPost profile of Padnos.
US lends firepower to Yemen fight — Yemeni policemen sprinted up a rocky dirt road, firing AK-47s, lobbing grenades and detonating explosives at a cinderblock house, a supposed Al Qaeda hideout. The scenario was fake, but the firepower very real, as U.S. and U.K. military trainers put local counterterrorism forces through their paces northeast of the capital. The 200-person counterterrorism police force is trained daily by the foreign commandos, according to a Yemeni soldier.