Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the last week's attack on the French Newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
In a videotape on a pro-Al-Qaida website, an AQAP leader said the group had carried out the attack under an order from Ayman Al-Zawahiri, leader of the global terrorist network.
Though AQAP has been seen as the most dangerous branch of Al-Qaida, observers argued that the videotape was not sufficient evidence it had already carried out the attack. Contradictory statements on the attack including those by senior US and Yemeni officials and the statuses of Al-Qaida in the region boost such assumption, they said.
Nabil Albukiri, a researcher focused on militant groups and head of the Arab center for political studies and development, said the videotape could be part of the media competition between Al-Qaida branches in the region.
"These branches have been facing a global war weakening them to the extent it is possible they claim successful attacks on their enemies even though they are not behind attacks in reality. Such a move aims to keep high spirits of their exhausted militants and then convince others that Al-Qaida is still strong and can fight back," he said.
Beyond Qaida ability
The Middle East has recently become an obvious arena for struggle of regional and foreign countries, a matter which made observers don't exclude that countries are using terrorism as a key card in their struggle.
Yemeni observers said the post-Arab Spring violence has further exposed the struggle of big powers and rising regional powers over oil and other interests in the region.
"Now, these countries are seeking to transfer part of their struggle from Iraq and Syria into Yemen, mainly for oil," Albukiri said.
Abdul Salam Muhammad, head of the ABAAD studies and research center, said the attack on Charlie Hebdo was beyond the abilities of Al-Qaeda.
"The attack points to involvement of international intelligence agencies and countries. No one can deny terrorism of Islamist militants; the point, however, is that neither AQAP nor ISIS has the abilities to carry out such a deadly attack in downtown the capital of one of the countries playing a key role in the fight against terror," Muhammad said.
"The Kouatchi brothers were able to raid, camouflage and fight back with necessary guns which means they were well-trained at hands of combat professionals, not from Yemen," he said.
Alsalahi, a political sociology professor at Sanaa University, said the West's involvement can't be ruled out when it comes to international terrorism.
"The West especially the US has been seeking to create a giant enemy after the fall of the Soviet Union in order to interfere militarily in areas of conflicts, guarantee suitable sales of their weapons and in the end to convince people to pay taxes without asking about the military spending," Alsalahi said.
AQAP has been seen as the most dangerous and active branch of Al-Qaida in the world. It has been responsible for several plots for attacks including a few bombing plots against US targets.
In response, the US has been providing direct support including drone strikes to the Yemeni army to fight AQAP. In this context, observers said the US is a direct enemy of AQAP which means the possibility of AQAP attack on Paris is low.
Locally, AQAP has been very active since it was founded in 2009.
The group has lately increased its deadly attacks mostly against the Houthi Militant Group.
In case AQAP was really responsible for the Paris attack, it is logical to link that to the plot backed by some Western countries which included handing power in Yemen to the Houthi Group, observers said.
Houthis were engaged in the war on Al-Qaida after they seized capital.
Muhammad said the power seizure by Houthi militias has resulted in increasing solidarity with Al-Qaida.
"As Houthi militias continue to tighten grip on power, power vacuum deepens, Al-Qaida finds more hotbeds and then its success in carrying out attacks increases," he said.
Meanwhile, observers ruled out that the Coalition against ISIS will expand its operations into Yemen in response to terrorist threats to Europe including the Paris attack.
"In Yemen, the international community is directly backing the transition process and what is needed is that they help the country to build a real state not ruled by militants," Muhammad said.