Al-Qa’ida released a video on September 11 of a 30-minute speech with English subtitles called “How to Confront America” through its as-Sahab Media Foundation commemorating the 17th anniversary of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. In the 14-point speech, al-Qa’ida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called for Muslim brothers worldwide to wage jihad against the United States, specifically in the Islamic Maghreb and the Sahara, the Sahel, and West Africa.
NJOHSP assesses al-Qa’ida is attempting to reform its operations in Syria following a split with its affiliate, the Nusrah Front. Since 2012, al-Qa’ida has maintained an active presence in Syria, taking advantage of the multi-faceted conflict; however, in 2016, the Nusrah Front broke with al-Qa’ida and is focusing its efforts on the Syrian conflict.
Al-Qa’ida lacks the presence and capability to carry out an attack in the United States or New Jersey. Although al-Qa’ida remains intent on attacking the United States and US interests overseas, the group continues to experience a decrease in operational capabilities because of its involvement in regional conflicts, leadership losses, and competition with other terrorist groups.
AQIS continues to focus on carrying out small-scale attacks in Bangladesh due to limited external operations capabilities. Although AQIS-directed operations in New Jersey are unlikely, the group has threatened New Jersey-based facilities and persons online.
In May, al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released an audio message in an effort to reestablish his leadership of the global Salafi-jihadist movement. The statement, Go Forth to the Levant, addresses al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusrah Front, mujahidin in the Levant—encompassing Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and Israel—and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The Islamic Spring is an audio series from al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. This analysis reviews the first six episodes—all 19 to 43 minutes in length—released between September 9 and October 9, 2015. The Islamic Spring series is the first time the group has commented on their operationally strategy since September 2014, when Zawahiri announced the creation of al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent.