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Gulf states have been warned of Al Qaida attacks mainly on ships, according to Kuwait’s Al Qabas daily. Quoting unnamed Kuwaiti security sources, the Arabic daily said that Al Qaeda has trained operatives to carry out attacks on commercial and passenger vessels in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

Western intelligence has urged Gulf states to tighten security measures, especially oil and gas tankers, Kuwaiti security sources told the daily.

The terror network network has regrouped in recent months taking advantage of deteriorating security situation in Somalia and Yemen, and has successfully established command and control bases in the two countries, the sources said.

Sources told the daily that Al Qaida operatives in Somalia have in recent weeks captured advanced weapons from government forces and transferred them to their counterparts in Yemen.

Western intelligence also provided Gulf states with names and locations of new Al Qaida command posts in Somalia and names of field commanders and members in Gulf states most of whom unknown previously, the sourced told the paper.

January 9, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk

 

The recent publication by the Kuwaiti daily, which is subject to heavy government censorship is unusual. The threat has then been carried by other Gulf publications, which are also censored. It could be interpreted in two ways. The first, is to use as an excuse to carry out raids and arrests against potential Islamists in Kuwait and the Gulf. The second is that it is genuine. It is likely to be a combination of both, in that there is a genuine increased threat in the Gulf, partly brought about by the Yemen issue.

Political Capital has warned in November 2009 that given the make-up of the prisoners captured by the Saudi forces on the Yemeni border during the fighting in the Saada region, it is likely that Al Qaeda fighters are using the current border situation as an opportunistic event. This includes the smuggling of men and arms into Saudi Arabia and onwards to the rest of the Gulf. The warning therefore confirms that this threat has indeed materialized. It is not known to what extent or what the actual magnitude of the threat is, but the fact that it has been issued presents a serious challenge to the GCC countries with significant western populations.