Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula issued an additional claim of credit for the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine on January 13 following its earlier claims on January 9. The most recent is a 11-minute long video featuring AQAP ideologue Nasser bin Ali Al Ansi who unequivocally says AQAP “choose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation.” This is consistent with media reports that the two French-Algerian brothers who carried out the attack trained with AQAP in Yemen.
The most interesting part of the video is the prominence it gives to Al Qaeda’s Emir Ayman Al Zawahiri whose orders its says led to the “implementation” of the “blessed Battle of Paris.” By singling out Zawahiri’s leadership the video puts the Paris attack in a broader context. All of Al Qaeda is now encouraged to pursue similar type operations using individual or small teams to attack targets in the West. By also praising Anwar Al Awlaki in the video the message is clear that Al Qaeda is trying to increase the frequency of small attacks which require only small resources, a strategy Awlaki proposed before his death. By stressing Zawahiri as the man responsible for a major attack in France the video also implicitly snubs Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s claims to be the Caliph of the global jihad.
The video also ridiculed the demonstration in Paris last Sunday by 44 world leaders as a sign of weakness and defeat. Since many in the leader’s procession are on Al Qaeda’s hit list, like Jordan’s King Abdallah and Queen Rania (previously targeted by AQ), that’s not surprising. It did not claim credit for the attack on a Jewish store but hailed the killer as a jihadist.
The AQAP video promises more “tragedies and terror” will come soon. France is labeled “the party of Satan” and attacked for being America’s ally in Mali and Syria.