Al Qaeda in Yemen: Amateur hour?

If the plot was claimed by Al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen, a group inspired by but largely separate from Osama bin Laden’s central organization, it would underscore the group’s determination to strike in the US. But the fact that none of the devices exploded or otherwise caused harm may signal that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninusla (AQAP), as the group is known, has so far failed to develop the expertise necessary to carry out attacks abroad.

AQAP, which has seen an increase in foreign jihadist involvement, recently published online its second edition of English language magazine, Inspire, in which it highlights the importance of targeting Americans, though many terrorism experts have called out the recent issue as a foolhardy attempt to invoke fear.

“The problem, though, is that the appearance and set-up of the bombs look amateurish, which could indicate that Samir Khan, who created Inspire Magazine, and his band of inexperienced AQAP members were behind the attacks since Khan has no military, bomb training, or field experience,” says Aaron Zelin, an Al Qaeda researcher at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.