Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yemen: Saudi Diplomat Kidnapped, Al-Qaeda Makes Deliberate Threats

According to the Saudi government, al-Qaeda's franchise on the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a Saudi diplomat in Yemen outside of his home in Aden on March 28.

Saudi officials said yesterday (April 17) that a fugitive al-Qaeda suspect, Mashaal Rasheed al-Shawdakhi, reportedly called the Saudi Embassy in Sana'a and threatened to kill the diplomat, attack a Saudi embassy and assassinate a Saudi prince unless the Saudis pay an undisclosed ransom and release specified militant imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

COMMENT: The response from Riyadh was that it would not be intimidated.


Although al-Qaeda, globally, is not nearly as well-financed as it was even three to four years ago, many of its affiliates, particularly in North Africa, have been successful in kidnapping foreigners with regular frequency.

Although al-Qaeda continues to prefer mass-casualty car-and-truck bomb attacks, as well as pedestrian-borne suicide bombings, the fact that the group successfully abducted a diplomat in a major Saudi city is noteworthy.

The next few weeks should dictate whether the cell that kidnapped the diplomat will deliver on its threats. This posting will be updated as new information becomes available.


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