The Blog

Al Qaeda Responsible for 4 Attacks on U.S. Embassies in September

8:46 AM, Oct 3, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In some countries reporting on events remains sketchy. In Sudan, for example, local press reports indicate that Salafi-jihadist groups with an affinity for al Qaeda were responsible for assaulting Western embassies. The U.S., German, and UK embassies all came under attack in Khartoum. Al Qaeda has a longstanding presence in Sudan, which was home to Osama bin Laden and his operatives during the early 1990s.

Elsewhere, al Qaeda-linked personalities led demonstrations near U.S. diplomatic facilities. On September 16, in Lahore, Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chieftain Hafiz Muhammad Saeed led a protest. “At least 8,000 people” attended, according to the Associated Press. The New York Times adds that the protest took place just half a mile from U.S. Consulate. The protest “remained peaceful,” according to the Times, but Saeed called for the creators of Innocence of Muslims to “be hanged to set an example.”

In April, the U.S. government offered a $10 million bounty for Saeed, making him one of the most wanted terrorists on the planet. Saeed has been implicated in LeT’s November 2008 siege of Mumbai, but there was likely more to the bounty. Documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reportedly show that Saeed remained in contact with bin Laden until shortly before the al Qaeda master’s death in May 2011. The documents also purportedly show that bin Laden received surveillance reports used to plan the attacks in Mumbai, suggesting deep collusion between the LeT and al Qaeda. Saeed was bin Laden’s ally dating to the 1980s.

Saeed has sought to inflame tensions further since the protest in Lahore. “Obama has said he cannot block the film,” Saeed said during an interview with Reuters. “What does that say?”

“Obama's statements have caused a religious war,” Saeed added. “This is a very sensitive issue. This is not going to be resolved soon. Obama's statement has started a cultural war.”

From the perspective of al Qaeda and affiliated groups, Saeed’s comments are likely what this was all about. They want to show that al Qaeda’s ideology has not been defeated, that the terror network still has street muscle, and that they can kill American diplomats.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Recent Blog Posts