Reported at MEMRI's Islamist Website Monitor Project:
On April 26, 2008, the Islamist website Al-Ikhlas posted an article from Jihad Press, an e-journal reportedly linked to Al-Qaeda, which urges the mujahideen to establish naval terror cells. The article argues that gaining control over the seas and sea passages – especially around the Arabian Peninsula – is a vital step towards renewing the global Islamic caliphate.Chokepoint art from here.
It points out that such operations are feasible, because Yemeni groups have already carried out successful attacks against oil tankers, tourist vessels, and commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden; and other jihad fighters have carried out "two successful attacks on Zionist-Crusader targets in the [territorial] waters of Yemen: ...the attack on the American destroyer [USS] Cole in October 2000, and the [attack on the] French oil tanker Limburg in 2002."
The article adds: "As we draw near to the [crucial] hour when the leadership of the Zionist-Crusader campaign will be dragged to the [negotiation] table to accept the [mujahideen's] terms... it is necessary to [extend] the battle to the seas. The mujahideen have successfully established units of martyrdom-seekers on land; the sea is the next strategic step towards controlling the world and restoring the Islamic caliphate."
Finally, the article stresses that the seas off the coast of Yemen, namely the Gulf of Aden, the Bab Al-Mandeb strait and the Red Sea are of supreme strategic importance in the campaign to expel the enemy from key locations. If the enemy loses these key areas, it explains, "he will not be able to defend himself on land and [to protect] his naval bases from the mujahideens' attack."
Info on Limburg attack here. Both the Cole attack and the Limburg attack involved explosive laden boats pulling along the ships. A similar plan was thwarted off Turkey when the main planner was captured - see here. An excellent essay on AQ marine ops by Akiva Lorenz linked to here. Mr. Lorenz now operates the Maritime Terrorism Research Center. As the Tamil "Sea Tigers" in Sri Lanka continue to prove, suicide boats are a poor man's torpedo. See also Suicide Boats: A Force Multiplier in Unconventional Warfare and Asymmetric Warfare: Terrorists, Small Boats, Explosives and Unarmed, Unescorted Ships.