Since 2017, al-Qa’ida affiliates have merged with several regional extremist groups to fulfill al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call to unite militants, attack regional enemies, and offset counterterrorism operations. In March 2017, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) merged with Ansar al-Din and al-Mourabitoun in Africa to form Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin. Additionally, Hurras al-Din became al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate led by Abu Hammam al-Shami following several mergers in 2018.
AQAP has demonstrated the intent and capability to act outside its primary area of operations in Yemen and has attempted to strike the United States on three occasions since 2009. The group failed to release its English-language magazine, Inspire, in 2018, the first year without an issue since the publication’s inception in 2009.