As has been widely reported, al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch is proudly claiming responsibility for the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day in Detroit. The alleged attempted perpetrator and therefore al-Qaeda co-conspirator, Umar Abdulmutallab, is a well-born Nigerian educated in London with an expressed affinity for another advocate of terrorism against America, the radical American-born imam, Anwar al-Awlaki.

HasanIn the twilight of the pre-dawn on Thursday, bombs dropped on the home of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born, Yemeni-based cleric. Yemeni Air Forces carried out the attack in an effort to kill al-Qaeda militants reportedly gathered there to plan attacks on Western concerns. At the time of this writing, it is unclear whether the controversial imam was actually killed in the early morning air strike.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, upon completing a two-day visit to Afghanistan on December 22, pledged that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is committed to staying in the country until the Afghan government and military are ready to take over their own defense and that there would be no deadline for the exit of allied troops from the country.

Iran test fired an improved version of its Sejil 2 medium-range missile on December 16, increasing tensions between Iran and Western powers. The Sejil 2 has a range of about 1,200 miles.

The Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group linked to al-Qaeda, claimed the blame on December 10 for a series of coordinated bombings in Baghdad this week that killed 127 people and wounded more than 500. The group posted a message on its website that it would “uproot pillars of this government and … demolish its corners.”