Though he conceded in his speech that officials had yet to conclusively link the plot to the organization, President Barack Obama announced that he intends to “destroy” al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a large and largely autonomous affiliate of the parent al-Qaeda organization in retaliation for today’s Yemen bomb scare.
Though the packages found within the United States itself amounted to very little, officials say that some of the overseas packages contained explosives, and while they are still being analyzed they appear to have been “intended to do harm.”
And while officials haven’t raised the terror threat level, this appears to be the latest in a growing number of incidents tailor-made for an administration which is forever mulling escalations of its military operations in Yemen.
It may also finally give the CIA the excuse it needs to ratchet up its drone presence from a surveillance operation to a Pakistan-style attack mission. The Yemeni government has balked at such a move, insisting the AQAP organization is comparatively small and the CIA attacks would do massive damage to the government’s domestic credibility. But with the Saleh Administration seemingly more interested in fighting its other civil wars than fighting AQAP, the growing calls among hawks for the US to do “something” about the organization seems like it is inexorably pushing the US toward a more direct role in attacks across the group’s southern Yemen strongholds.