Yemen FM: 400 Active al-Qaeda in Country

Is CIA's Number One Threat Really Only 400 People?

In comments made to the al-Hayat, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi reported that the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) faction which is operating in Yemen includes some 400 active fighters operating within Yemen.

Which doesn’t sound like very many, especially when one considers that the CIA termed AQAP the number one security threat to the United States in August, putting them ahead of the parent al-Qaeda group.

The reports was immediately followed with calls for the US to escalate the number of attacks they launch across Yemen, and a dramatic expansion of the military’s training program inside Yemen.

Can this really all be for 400 guys living in a country of 23+ million people? If so it would certainly explain why Yemen has been so much more eager to fight the separatist factions in the nation’s north and south, as these groups would be far larger. But it doesn’t explain the US fascination with committing ever increasing resources to the group, particularly when their only attempt at an attack, the Christmas Day underbomber, was a failure.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of