Combating AQAP s Security Threat Research Paper

Pages: 12 (3949 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Through terror attacks, the group believes it will successfully establish its political and cultural ideologies while seizing crucial governmental operations in its targets, particularly Israel and Western nations. On the hand, mobilizing civil terrorist acts will make it impossible for any counter-terrorism measures adopted by governments across the globe.

Propaganda Released by AQAP

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula utilizes propaganda and other statements as part of its strategies towards realizing its goals and objectives. These statements and propaganda are usually released through its English language magazine known as Inspire. Since it's first-ever release in July 2010, the magazine has been used as a platform for spreading propaganda and other messages. There are two major propagandas released and spread by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula i.e. anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and anti-Israeli messages. The anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are geared towards justifying terror attacks and other activities carried out by this group. On the other hand, anti-Israeli messages are geared towards attacking Israelis, their leaders, and institutions throughout the world. For instance, AQAP unsuccessfully planned to send explosive-laden packages on America-bound cargo flights in October 2010 (Anti-Defamation League, 2013). This terror plot that was to be carried out on Chicago-area Jewish institutions demonstrated the group's anti-Semitic ideology. The anti-Israeli messages or propaganda is shown in its publication entitled, "Israel Can't Hide," which called for attacks on Israeli-targets and their affiliates. In May 2012, the group published a tribute to Osama bin Laden in the first anniversary of his demise in which the spread propaganda that Israel and the United States are at war with Palestinians and Islam.

Capability of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has continued to grow stronger in the recent past, especially through capitalizing on Yemen's political instability. The strength of this group emerges from strong funding following its raid on the local central bank and taxation at the local port. Actually, this terror group now governs its own mini-state in Yemen backed by approximately $100 million obtained from looted bank deposits and taxes from Yemen's third largest port (Bayoumy, Browning & Ghobari, 2016). In addition to its economic strength, AQAP also has a relatively large militant group for its operations and activities. The group has utilized its financial muscle and militant base to develop and acquire weapons, especially explosives. Given its bomb-making expertise, AQAP has the capability to carry out attacks on its targets through complex tactics, which demonstrates its threat. Nonetheless, this group has recently faced significant competition from ISIS and Houthi movement, which have threatened its operations and capabilities.

Part II -- Analysis of Security Policies vis-a-vis AQAP's Threat

The United States and other nations across the globe have attempted to deal with terror through creating security policies that promote and foster the war on terror. This process has involved examining threats posed by individual terrorists and terror groups and creating policies that would help deal with these threats effectively. Since the 9/11 terror attacks, the U.S. government has taken a lead role in fighting terrorism and its associated impacts. U.S. homeland security policies have been developed depending on emerging threats and the nature of terrorist attacks. An example of such a policy is the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, which is based on existing realities in the fight against terrorism.

Overview of National Strategy for Combating Terrorism

The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism is a policy developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which was first published in February 2003. This policy acknowledges that America is at war and that the fight against terror is different from conventional war (Federation of American Scientists, 2006). This policy was created as part of America's strategy to destroy and eliminate the wider Al-Qaeda network and tackle the radical ideology that encourage others to support and/or become members of the terrorist movement. Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made significant efforts in the fight on terror, which resulted in the killing or apprehending key lieutenants of the network, disrupting existing support lines, and destroying safe havens. However, terrorists adjusted their tactics, which necessitates changes in policies and strategies for dealing with terror networks and organizations.

The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism of 2006 sought to prevent attacks by terror networks, promoting effective democracies as the long-term solution to terror ideologies, create foundations and develop necessary structures and institutions for the war on terror. The other strategies in the policy include cutting off terrorists' support lines, denying these criminals the safe haven of rogue states, denying terrorists weapons of mass destruction, and denying terrorists control of countries they could use as base of operation.

Evaluation of National Strategy for Combating Terrorism

Based on the strategies outlined in the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism of 2006, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security seemingly recognized that rogue states played a crucial role in promoting terrorism and terror activities. Rogue states have the potential of providing terrorists and their allies with safe havens to carry out their activities and support for launching and claiming attacks on specific targets. The policy was developed on the backdrop of the war on terror in Iraq, which was an operating haven and support line for Al-Qaeda. Therefore, further counter-terrorism initiatives and strategies required eliminating the possibility of rogue states to provide such platforms and support for terror organizations and networks. In essence, the core components of this policy or strategy are disrupting and disabling terrorist networks throughout the world and strengthening international cooperation in the fight on terror (Perl, 2007).

Unlike the 2003 version, the 2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism established different priorities for the strategy elements developed to foster global cooperation in the war on terror. One of the most significant differences between these two versions is that the 2006 Strategy places greater emphasis on democratization as a means of combating terrorism. Secondly, this policy emphasized on denying terrorists safe havens in failed, underdeveloped, and rogue states that were characterized by political instability. As a result, the strategy did not emphasize the use of political and economic tools to strengthen countries that were likely to experience the spread of terrorist influence within their territories.

Ability of National Strategy for Combating Terrorism to Counter AQAP

The 9/11 terror attacks on the United States highlighted the threat posed by terrorists, terror organizations/groups, and terror networks. Since then international community has failed in various ways to be proactive in combating terror activities. While the U.S. underestimated Al-Qaeda's resilience and ability to spread when invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the country has adopted several measures and policies to address this shortcomings (Faulkner & Gray, 2014, p.2). As previously indicated, the emergence and growth of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was fueled by political instability in Yemen, which enabled two regional Al-Qaeda affiliates to merge. On the other hand, one of the strategies in the 2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism was preventing rogue states from providing safe havens for terrorist organizations to grow and launch their attacks.

In light of these factors, the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism failed to counter the threat posed by AQAP by failing to prevent the creation of a safe haven for this group in Yemen. According to Perl (2007), it's difficult to determine whether this policy or strategy effectively deals with rogue states. As part of attempts to prevent rogue states from acting as safe haven for breeding terrorist groups, the 2006 Strategy suggested that isolating and sanctioning rogue states until they reject terrorism and their support. Security experts have contended that isolation and sanctions have relatively little impact on government's willingness to support terrorism.

Moreover, the recommendation failed to acknowledge that terrorist groups could take advantage of political instability in countries that do not necessarily support or sponsor terrorism. In essence, the 2006 Strategy failed to recognize that countries facing political instability, especially in the Middle East could be utilized by terrorist groups to develop and spread. Therefore, there is a policy or strategy gap in the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism of 2006 on how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the international community would handle political stability in countries that terrorist group could spread and develop in. This should have been critically addressed in the 2006 Strategy because of the aftermath of U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Actually, following U.S. failures in the aftermath of these invasions, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates expanded more than 50%. This significant expansion of Al-Qaeda network since 2008 has largely been fueled by the network's ability to capitalize on failed states in the Middle East and other parts of the world (Faulkner & Gray, 2014, p.2).

The lack of a proper strategy to address the probability of failed states to provide safe havens for emergence and development of terror groups is evidenced in the U.S. relations with Yemen after political uprising. Before the country experienced political instability and uprising, Yemen established counterterrorism partnership… [END OF PREVIEW]

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