The question of who was behind the Charlie Hebdo attack appears to have been settled with an explicit claim of responsibility by Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi, a key leader in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). There is a good deal of evidence that supports al-Ansi’s claim.
Over the past few weeks, the insurgent threat from al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s (AQ) affiliate in Syria has grown, even as actions by the Iraqi government, Kurdish forces, and tribal fighters have significantly reduced the territory controlled by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq. The result is that the two fighting groups seem to be changing places in the size and scope of the military threat they present to the region. Meanwhile, the announcement by IS members that the group has built a “dirty bomb” and smuggled it into Europe creates the possibility that IS now presents as great a terrorist danger as the “imminent threat” posed by AQ’s Khorasan Group.
Having spent several posts discussing the threat offered by the Islamic State (IS), it seems appropriate to balance these views with a look at the signs that suggest the group is facing difficulties in its attempts to expand further.