As the United States and other world powers weigh the risks and rewards of a strike against Syria, there are rising concerns that destabilizing the Assad regime could give extremists – particularly al Qaeda – an opening to gain strength and weapons.

Al Qaeda is looking for a victory, in part because the United States and its allies have done such a superb job disrupting and devastating al Qaeda’s every move. In late July, U.S. intelligence intercepted a message between two high-level al Qaeda leaders, indicating a potential terrorist plot. The resulting embassy closures threw a spotlight on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with some suggesting the terrorists in Yemen are more powerful than ever.

Now, with embassies back in business, we can begin to dissect exactly what took place in Yemen during the last several weeks. Despite a lot of hype, AQAP is on the run. I explain why in a recent article for Defense Media Network. Is al Qaeda in Yemen stronger than ever? Short answer: nope.

Is Al Qaeda in Yemen Becoming More Dangerous?

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen is now offering limited public services. It is the final U.S. embassy to reopen following an intercepted message between high-ranking al Qaeda leaders that indicated a major attack was in the works. Today, that threat appears to be somehow mitigated, given the embassy reopening, but over the last chaotic two or so weeks, public attention has returned to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which had dropped below much of the world’s radar for its inactivity and relative silence.

While AQAP remains one of the more dangerous al Qaeda affiliates, it is important to put this recent threat in perspective. There are many intelligence and military elements in play that leave AQAP – rather than the United States – in a perilous position.

Read the full article.

Justin Hienz is Editor for Security Debrief. He blogs primarily on radicalization, aviation security, religious and Middle Eastern affairs, and communications. Read More