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US Terror Warnings in MENA

Bottom Line: Jailbreaks of al-Qaida suspects in nine countries and chatter among al-Qaida affiliates of a possible attack on Western interests in the Middle East and Africa have prompted the US to issue a global security alert and close down a number of embassies in the MENA region.

Analysis: The global travel warning was issued on 4 August, and is a response a number of developments. Among those developments is a marked increase in intercepted communications among al-Qaeda figures of higher rank alluding to a potential attack in the MENA region against US or Western interests. The US is also extending the closure of a number of its MENA embassies through 10 August.  The global travel warning has been issued until 31 August. A series of high-profile prison breaks in Pakistan, Iraq and Libya have also added to the alarm and played a part in the issuance of the global travel warning. In these prison breaks, hundreds of suspected Sunni radical fighters have been freed. In Yemen, American, British and French diplomatic staff have been evacuated, as this is the main venue for US drone strikes against al-Qaeda targets and these strikes will now be increased. These attacks will target Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In the Sahel region, it is al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its affiliates that Western forces are battling, but these intertwine with radical Sunni forces that the US actually has a loose alliance with first in Libya and now in Syria to…

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