Al-Qaeda in Yemen threatens France and Sweden… What are the organization’s capabilities?

The terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in Yemen, one of its most dangerous branches worldwide, has issued threats targeting Swedish and French interests at a time when the organization is grappling with ongoing internal crises.

Experts in terrorist group affairs have confirmed that “the organization still poses a significant threat despite the conflicts and defeats it has suffered.” However, they downplayed its ability to carry out major attacks on foreign targets, emphasizing that it is “embroiled in many internal problems and has recently suffered significant defeats.”

The threats from Al-Qaeda included targeting French and Swedish interests and carrying out violent explosions targeting their embassies worldwide, alleging their opposition to Islam.

Echo of Conquests

These threats came through a publication called “Echo of Conquests,” the mouthpiece of the terrorist organization, which was released for the first time in 12 years.

Al-Qaeda had reissued its publication “Echo of Conquests” through applications such as Telegram, RocketChat, and WhatsApp, serving as the propaganda arm of the organization.

In the organization’s promotional magazine, it stated, “It has become clear that Sweden has chosen to lead the war against Islam and Muslims among the European Union countries, competing with France, Denmark, and other countries for the first place in the race.”

The organization added, “They will only understand when they hear news like the Swedish embassy being crushed due to a violent explosion,” or “an armed attack against a ministry building in the French capital, Paris,” according to the threats from the organization.

Implications of the Publication

Experts in terrorist group affairs considered the reissuance of Al-Qaeda‘s “Echo of Conquests” after a 12-year hiatus as “another sign that Al-Qaeda still represents a continuous threat.”

In contrast to the threats made by Al-Qaeda against France and Sweden, the propaganda arm of the organization focused heavily on highlighting the killing of the commander of the Security Belt Forces in Abyan province, Colonel Abdullah Al-Sayyed, in August of last year. It also referred to military operations in Abyan province following the losses suffered by the organization at the hands of southern forces.

The propaganda arm of the organization also revealed the arrest of the Yemeni government’s Sharia judge for Al-Qaeda, “Abu Bashar,” an Egyptian national, without providing any further details.

Media sources reported that Judge “Abu Bashar” had been arrested a year and a half ago in the city of Marib. They noted that “the security apparatus of the organization,” led by Ibrahim Al-Banna, had carried out an assassination operation against Judge Abu Bashar, which failed, forcing him to flee to the city of Marib, where government forces arrested him there.

Key Capabilities of the Organization Regarding the extent of Al-Qaeda’s ability in Yemen to carry out its threats, Yemeni researcher in terrorist group affairs Saeed Al-Jumahi ruled out that Al-Qaeda in Yemen currently possesses any capabilities that qualify it to directly carry out external operations.

Al-Jumahi that he does not believe “Al-Qaeda currently has any capabilities that qualify it to carry out external operations directly, meaning that the targeting operations would be supervised and financed by the terrorist organization in Yemen”.

He added, “The organization can carry out its threats in one case, which involves having cells within France or Sweden that are symbolically linked to the organization in Yemen and have successfully communicated with Al-Qaeda in Yemen to carry out these operations under the organization’s banner to gain more momentum and influence.”

The Yemeni expert emphasized that “these operations or targets, if they occur, will not go beyond what is known as ‘lone wolves’ with limited impact.”

Internal Conflicts

The Al-Qaeda organization in Yemen, led by Khalid Batarfi, is currently facing internal crises, especially after the setbacks it suffered at the hands of southern forces.

These strikes have deprived the organization of its main strongholds in Abyan province, in addition to the American airstrikes that targeted its leaders, the most prominent of which was the killing of Hamid Al-Tamimi, the organization’s Sharia official.

In response to the strikes by southern forces in Abyan, Al-Qaeda resorted to the use of improvised explosive devices as its last weapon, while the majority of its fighters retreated to Al-Bayda province, where the Houthi militias provide safe havens for the terrorist organization.

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