- ISIS is calling for attacks on security personnel and police in Canada, the US, France and Australia.
- ISIS hackers somehow managed to hack into US Central Command’s computers and disabled the Youtube and Twitter accounts of Centcom.
It looks like this situation could get out of hand in a hurry.
The Charlie Hebdo attack involved an alliance between Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Al Qaeda Yemen) and ISIS. The Kouachi brothers were with AQ Yemen, and Amedy Chouilaby was with ISIS. They coordinated the attack. If so, this means that ISIS and AQ Yemen are now coordinating attacks.
AQ Yemen is poorly understood.
First of all it must be noted that the original Al Qaeda was located in Saudi Arabia. At the time of the 9-11 Attacks, ~90% of Al Qaeda cadre were Saudis, and the group had a huge presence in the Kingdom. However, they seemed to have a deal with the state to not attack the government. That changed soon with several high profile attacks, first on foreigners and then on top government installations. The attacks showed that Al Qaeda had penetrated the security services deeply and likely had a lot of collaborators on the inside.
At some point, this broke out into all out civil war in Arabia. The state eventually won the war, but many were killed on both sides. Large numbers of AQ fighters were imprisoned, but many were released in a government rehabilitation program where state imams tried to convince them to change their ways.
AQ in Saudi Arabia appears to be fairly dormant, but there is now a sizable ISIS presence in the Kingdom. ISIS carried out its first attack against Saudi security forces on the border with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The attack killed three people including a general.
What happened after the defeat of AQ in Saudi Arabia was that most of the cadre simply moved down to Yemen and took up shop there. So AQ Yemen is really just the original core AQ Saudi Arabia which has moved to Yemen. It is the true core Al Qaeda. The Yemen group has become well known for some high profile attempted attacks on the US, one on an airline and the other on the mail system.
It puts out a sleek magazine called Inspire. The head of the group, an American named al-Awlaki, had repeatedly called for attacks on the US until he was killed in a US drone strike. US drones continue to hover over Yemen and attacks on AQ Yemen are carried out fairly regularly by the CIA.
AQ Yemen has been fairly successful in an insurgency that they have waged against the government and against a Shia group called Houthis in the north. They have taken over entire cities and control whole districts. I am not sure exactly how the insurgency is going now, but on the day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, perhaps in coordination with the French attackers, AQ Yemen carried out a suicide attack on police cadets in Sana’a, killing 36 of them.
AQ Yemen has become a powerful organization.
I do not foresee peaceful days ahead.