Yemen Strikes May Target Top AL Qaeda Leaders

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8 December 2015

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         Al Qaeda is a global militant Islamist organization founded by the late Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam among other Islamic. It dates back to around August 1988-1989 in Peshwar in Pakistan. Its origins were traced to the Soviet War in Afghanistan. It operated as a network that comprised of both multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim revolution. This movement called for global jihad and implemented a strict interpretation of the Sharia laws. It was branded a terrorist organization by major organizations and countries in the world such as the United Nation Security Council, the European Union, NATO, the United States, and the United Kingdom among many other countries.

         Al Qaeda functioned both on its own and through some minor terrorist organizations. The organizations that operated under the al Qaeda included Ayman al-Wawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad which was also known as el Gamaa Islamia. There were also other Jihad groups in countries such as Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Pakistan, Croatia, Tunisia Lebanon, Albania, Philippines, Azerbaijan, Tajistan and the Hashmiri Region in India and Chechnyan in Russia. AL Qaeda kept cells and personnel in numerous countries to facilitate its operations including Kenya, Tanzania, the United States, Germany, United Kingdome, Malaysia and Canada. “Al Qaeda has no home base, but maintains cells in different countries in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia” (Zalman)


           One of the ultimate goals of Al Qaeda was to fight off the United States armed forces out of Saudi Arabian peninsula and Somalia. They issued rulings on Islamic laws indicating that such action was proper and essential. Bin Laden led the AL Qaeda to oppose the United States for various reasons. First, they perceived the United States to have no faith because its governance was not as per their interpretation of the Islamic laws. The second reason was that they regarded the United States as a provider of vital support to “other infidel” nations and institutions. They particularly branded the Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and finally the United Nations, as enemies of the Islamists organization. Third, Osama Bin Laden greatly contended the participation of the United States armed force in the Gulf war and operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1991, 1992 and 1993 respectively. Above all, the presence of the American forces in the Saudi Arabian peninsula was with no doubt resented by the al Qaeda. Last but not least, the United States Government’s incredible resentment was owed to the arrest and conviction of the al Qaeda personnel or any member of their affiliate terrorists organizations. For these reasons, Osama Bin Laden led the al Qaeda to declare jihad, holy war, against the United States. He pursued this goal through all means possible. The al Qaeda made attacks on any nations or organizations allied to the United States.

          Since 1988, when Al Qaeda was formed, “the organization has been credited with scores of terror attacks around the globe, which have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people” (National Geographic).

Attacks in East Africa

            On 7th August 1998, well planned attacks were made on two American embassies in the East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania. In Tanzania, it is perceived by the authorities that a bomb was planted in a refrigeration truck which was later parked outside the United States embassy. It was unfortunate that these two embassies did not meet the recent strict measures that have been implemented. The attack on the Tanzanian embassy saw 11 people die and 86 more get injured. On the other hand the Kenyan bombing resulted in the deaths of 12 Americans, 213 Kenyan Citizens and had over 5000 casualties. One of AL Qaeda’s leaders, Al Libi, “was wanted for his alleged role in the deadly 1998 bombings of the two embassies in Africa” (CNN).

         The aftermath of this attack was devastating and the United States in conjunction with the Tanzanian government sought to set up a new embassy. The United States impeached Osama Bin Laden as the core perpetrator of the bombing of these embassies. The united stated went ahead to offer a reward for five million dollars for his arrest and conviction.

            The United States government as devastated as it was plotted attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan. On 20th August 1998, the United States attacked Sudan and Afghanistan. It was alleged that the US targeted a chemical weapons producing plant, located in Sudan, with 13 cruise missiles. This only resulted to the deaths of the night guards. There has not been any substantial evidence that supports the attack and therefore it has come under extreme criticism. The attack on Afghanistan consisted of about 75 cruise missiles which targeted three separate terrorists’ camps and strongholds. This attack brought the deaths of 24 people but unfortunately failed in getting Osama Bin Laden. “The strikes were a response to an imminent threat to the U.S. posed by a terrorist network backed by Osama bin Laden” (CNN).

Attacks in Yemen

            This is AL Qaeda’s first ever attack in its course. It is known as the Yemen Hotel Bombing of 1992. On the evening of the 29th of December 1992, a bomb went off at the Gold Mahur Hotel. This happened to be where the United States’ armed forces had been staying on their route to Somalia. Fortunately the troops had already evacuated the hotel at the time of the attack. Undeterred by any circumstances, the AL Qaeda went ahead to plot another attack. They targeted another hotel. They perceived that the American troops were staying in the Aden Movenpick. However, the bomb detonated in the hotel car park, ahead of time for their attack. The explosion led to the death of two Australian tourists. Osama Bin Laden and Mohamed Khan claimed responsibility for these attacks.

Attacks in Jordan

          In December 1999-2000, there was a plotted attack by the AL Qaeda to attack United States and Israelis tourists who had visited Jordan to celebrate the millennium. Conversely, authorities in Jordan disillusioned the plotted attacks and apprehended and convicted 28 suspects. This plot involved the bombing of the LAX but this was a complete failure for the AL Qaeda since the bomber, known as Ahmed Ressam was apprehended at the US- Canadian border with explosives in his car. The AL Qaeda did not stop at that. They planned an attack on the USS Sullivans on January the third in 2000. This failed because they put too much weight on a small boat that was to bomb the ship.

Attack on MV Limburg

            The Limburg was loaded with 397,000 barrels, equated to 63,100 m3, of crude oil from Iran en route to Malaysia. It was attacked in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen where it was to collect another load of crude oil. The Limburg was registered under a French-flag. PETRONAS, a Malaysian petrol firm, had chartered the Limburg. At some distance offshore, a small boat loaded with explosives rammed the tanker on the starboard and detonated. The craft caught fire and estimated 90,000 barrels, equated to 140,000 m3 of crude oil spilled into the ocean. Yemeni authorities apparently claimed that the explosion was caused by an accident. However investigations showed traces of TNT on the wrecked vessel. In the incident one crew member was killed and 12 others were injured. According to BBC, Ahmed al-Darbi confessed to being responsible for this incident.

              The Battle of WanatOn July 13, 2008, AL Qaeda and Taliban guerilla fighters raged war on NATO troops. This occurred near Wanat, a village in Waygal district, in Afghanistan’ province of Nuristan. This battle has been branded “Black Hawk Down”. It was one of the bloodiest attacks in the war and one of the numerous attacks on remote outposts. In comparison to the preceding ambushes that were executed in a haphazard manner, this was well coordinated and executed. “American casualties included nine killed and 27 wounded, while four Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were wounded” (Terrorists groups).

Attacks on the United States

           On Tuesday September 11, 2001 a coordinated series of 4 attacks were launched on the US in the metropolitan area of Washington DC and in New York by the Al-Qaeda, a terrorist group of Islamic religion.

          19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners. The purpose of hijacking the planes was so that they could be used for suicide attacks.

           Two of the planes, the United Airline flight 175 and also the American Airliners flight II were crashed into the south and north towers of the world trade center complex in New York City respectively. In two hours the two towers collapsed. The debris from the buildings and the fires partly of completely caused the collapse of the buildings in the world trade center complex and also caused damage to another ten large surrounding structures.

The Rise

           The affliction of AL Qaeda on global is seemingly a long standing affair. Its beginning goes back decades to the modern-day establishment and conversion of a non-state armed group that has made it its purpose to create exceptional regional and international changes based on unnecessary use of brutal force for political motives. Apart from prompting domestic and foreign crises, the AL Qaeda focused specifically in adapting and prospering open-endedly as it sought new approaches. All along, it is in this perspective that the growth of AL Qaeda was planned for. This was a preordained way for the group to ensure it growth regardless of any setbacks from the very beginning. This isolated it from preceding and successive Islamists groups. On the other hand, traditional Islamist factions started to institute themselves through religious preaching, political sermons and particularly through networks of domestic social amenities.

            The first incarnation of AL Qaeda was to act as a welfare provider originating in the reinter state, Arabian Gulf. On the other hand its purpose was to apparently fight the Soviet Union in the 1980s, Jihad. The superiority of this underlying principle did not translate to a sudden halt of an unsatisfied local aim but somewhat the domestic contention to spill out to the external parties. From the perspective of a failed Arab and Islamic nation building, this faction sprang forth as a project with the combination of religion and politics. I was built upon:

Relocation of authority;

Outwitting the state;

And the belligerent empowerment of a non-state actor.

           If in the beginning the swift propagation of the five regional depictions of the Al Qaeda were questionable, an added suggestion of the organization’s inspiring global reach and its ability to function in multiple nations long after War on Terror had been declared against it, it progressively occurred that the regional affiliates were significantly at variance and their link to the mother Al Qaeda was in some way unsubstantiated.

            Although in its first fifteen years it had been able to develop globally against vital odds; for each tactical loss, the Al Qaeda earned a strategic gain. This was demonstrated by:

Retreating in Afghanistan but advancing in Iraq;

Restricted leadership but had proliferating contacts;

Abridged physical mobility but had global impact;

Additional enemies but expanding recruits.

The fall

           In the period between 2006 and 2011, AL Qaeda’s leadership had changed into a self-commandment, in due course offering only political, religious and military commentary, and not operational orders. Taking everything into account, what can be interpreted as a regionalization strategy of the Al Qaeda mixed up the global representation of the organization. The required elasticity the group embraced, partially voluntarily, partially as a way to adjust to the impending international anti-terrorism campaign, brought about an ever-growing distance with the already liberated divisions.

           Osama Bin Laden’s vanishing from Al Qaeda and also the War on Terror scene, for that reason, signified the end of the reign of the original faction established in Afghanistan. This opened a new chapter in which the regional authorizations will further sanction their existing independence. In so doing they will bestow the conflict with a new arrangement by diminishing terrorism among nations.

War on Terror

           Previous efforts to put an end to this menace were somehow unsuccessful until May 2, 2011. O this day, a team of U.S Navy Seals with the help of the United States intelligence located the AL Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. He was found in Abbottabad in Pakistan, 31 Miles from Islamabad where he met his demise. On June 16 the same year, Ayman al-Zawahiri succeeded Osama Bin Laden but the fight against terror continues.

          The war against terror is a global war. There have been numerous efforts to curb the AL Qaeda menace. The United States has shown great dedication in trying to bring justice to the crimes committed by this faction, the Al Qaeda. These efforts have included several military actions by the United States armed forces and other allied nations and institutions like the UK and the United Nations. Presently, there are ongoing various military operations against this terrorist faction. This operation either targets the faction directly or the affiliates of this faction such as the Al Shabaab in Somalia. Many countries have joined the war against terrorism. For example, according to Fox News, the Iraqi Government has announced that it is offensive on AL Qaeda. Yemen is also said to be targeting top AL Qaeda leaders, as Stated by CNN reporters, Jamjoom and Smith, write.

            The United States government has greatly contributed the gradual fall that AL Qaeda is undergoing. Military action is seemingly the way to go since these terrorists seem not to the get the hang of diplomacy. Presently, “prompted in part by a recent video that showed Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen openly taunting the United States, the CIA launched lethal drone strikes”(Dilanian). According to ABC News, even after two years when the United States withdrew its troops from Iraq, the US is still aid the Iraqi government to fight off the AL Qaeda faction.


Al Qaeda. Answers, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

AL Qaeda Attacks: A Chronology. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

Battle of Wanat 2008. Terrorist Groups, 8 Apr. 2008. Web. 26 Apr. 2014

Fast facts: The embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. CNN, 6 Oct. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

Guantanamo prisoner al-Darbi admits MV Limburg Attack. BBC, 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

Jamjoom, Mohammed and Smith, Matt. Yemen Strikes May Target Top AL Qaeda Leaders. CNN, 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

US Assisting Iraq in Fight Against Al Qaeda 2 Years After Troops Withdraw. ABC NEWS, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.Zalman, Amy. Al Qaeda: Profile of Al Qaeda. About, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

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"Yemen Strikes May Target Top AL Qaeda Leaders" StudyScroll, 8 December 2015,

StudyScroll. (2015). Yemen Strikes May Target Top AL Qaeda Leaders [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 10 June, 2023]

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"Yemen Strikes May Target Top AL Qaeda Leaders" StudyScroll, Dec 8, 2015.

"Yemen Strikes May Target Top AL Qaeda Leaders" StudyScroll, 8-Dec-2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10-Jun-2023]

StudyScroll. (2015). Yemen Strikes May Target Top AL Qaeda Leaders. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 10-Jun-2023]

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