We now know more details about why 19 U.S. embassies were closed across the Arab world earlier this week, and why Americans were urged to leave Yemen. U.S. and Yemeni security officials tell various news outlets that a Qaida plot was in the works to take over the Yemeni oil supply and blasting foreign embassies with suicide bombs.
As relayed to the Daily Beast, U.S. spies intercepted a conference call that a security official likened to "a meeting of the Legion of Doom" of 20 Qaida operatives in Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, and elsewhere.
Perhaps the evil-villain connection is warranted here, as the details spell out an elaborate plot that involve disguises, mass destruction of infrastructure, and the seizure of a couple cities. Here's what we know.
1. Included on the call were Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of al-Qaida, and Nasir ul-Wuhayshi, the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (who was formerly Osama bin Laden's personal assistant). During the course of the call, relays the Beast, Wuhayshi was promoted to control the groups "many affiliates across the Muslim world." The paper reports that the CIA has been tracking Wuhayshi for months.
2. In addition to the oil pipelines, the terrorists were planning to take control of two important port cities. Dressed like Yemeni soldiers, they were going to seize the cities and kill or kidnap foreigners, relays The New York Times.