Al Qaeda ties of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: How deep do they go?
Investigations into where alleged Northwest Airlines bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got his explosives point toward Yemen and its local Al Qaeda offshoot. Foreign Policy Magazine's latest Failed State Index named Yemen as particularly troubling.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young Muslim man who allegedly sought the mid-air explosion of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas, could have found his motivations for carrying out the attack almost anywhere.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Abdulmutallab, who Al Qaeda in Yemen says was working at their behest, could have found exhortations to violent jihad on the Internet, which is filled with chat rooms and websites praising suicide bombers; in mosque-based discussion groups in London, where he attended school for four years and where a small coterie of militant preachers still whisper into young ears excited about joining a glorious cause; or from a preacher in his home country of Nigeria.
But inspiration is one thing. The explosives and jerry-rigged detonator with which he allegedly tried to kill himself and all 288 passengers and crew aboard the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit are harder to come by. Now, investigators are focusing on where and how he obtained the wherewithal to attempt his attack, and all early signs are pointing to Yemen.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an organization with roots in the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and with ties to senior Al Qaeda figures like Osama bin Laden, believed to be currently residing in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack on a jihad website that has been used as a conduit for militant propaganda in the past. The Middle East Media Research Institute translated the claim as saying, in part: "The hero ... martyrdom-seeker, brother Omar Al-Farooq, carried out a quality operation on an American plane ... in (an operation) which broke through all modern advanced technological equipment and security barriers in world airports."
The group also claimed that Abdulmutallab was dispatched in revenge for recent US-backed attacks on their operatives, which includes a Yemeni assault in Shebwa on Christmas Eve that the country claimed killed 30 Al Qaeda operatives. That seems unlikely, since Abdulmutallab is believed to have departed Yemen in early December. But that supporters in Yemen of what Mr. bin Laden and his closest aide Ayman al-Zawahiri have dubbed the "global jihad against crusaders and Jews" are feeling under US pressure is not in doubt. The US increased military aid to the troubled regime of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to $70 million this year.