The military commander of al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen is threatening new attacks against America, saying its people will never be safe until the U.S. government stops “attacking and oppressing” Muslim countries.
The six minute Arabic-language audio statement by Qasim al-Rimi, entitled “Message to the American Nation” was released on the Internet with English subtitles by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which U.S. officials rank as one of the most dangerous affiliates of the terror network.
“Your security is not achieved by despoiling other nations’ security or by attacking and oppressing them,” al-Rimi says, according to excerpts published by IntelCenter, a private firm that tracks extremist messaging for clients including U.S. military and government agencies.
“Your security is achieved by stopping the foolish, who rule you, from oppression and aggression. Know that oppression and aggression rebound on the throats of the perpetrators,” said al-Rimi, who was listed as AQAP’s senior military commander and a terrorist by the U.S. government and the UN Security Council in 2010.
“Your leaders are assaultive, oppressive and tyrannical, and you stand behind them cheering, supporting and voting for them,” he added.
The message “supports a justification for mass casualty attacks targeting civilians as it shifts responsibility” for the U.S. military’s actions from the government to the American people, said Ben Venzke, CEO of IntelCenter.
He added that such warnings — required by Islamic jurisprudence to allow Americans to mend their ways before being attacked — typically opened a “threat window” before an attack of uncertain duration.
“While [the attack] could be in the near-term, historical patterns have shown the threat window to extend as far out as a year or longer between warning and attack,” he said.
AQAP has tried to attack America several times in the past few years. The 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot, which failed when the group’s underwear bomb did not go off; and the computer printer cartridge bomb that was unearthed by the Saudis the following year, were both AQAP plots.
“Blame none but yourselves,” said al-Rimi. “Gulp the bitterness of war, death, destruction and insecurity as other oppressed humans do. The two decade war has not laid down its burden, rather it is at its peak. The war between you and us has not ceased.”