Over at Defense One, I explain that the embassy closures are just free advertising for al Qaeda:
Yet the scale of the American response — closing so many embassies — suggests that it was that very break with established patterns that worried policymakers. Al-Zawahiri issued an order to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the founder of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to carry out an unspecified attack. AQAP is based in Yemen, so closing the U.S. embassy there (and keeping it closed longer) makes sense. Conceivably, closing nearby embassies in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sudan, Somalia, or elsewhere in the immediate region can make sense.
But the list of closed embassies wasn’t limited to logical choices for attacks. Closing stations in Madagascar, Burundi and Rwanda doesn’t make any immediate sense, based on what’s known publicly. The closure of Embassy Port Louis in Mauritius baffled many analysts — was AQAP really going to fly 2,600 miles into the outer reaches of the Indian Ocean to set off a bomb when there are a dozen perfectly good targets much closer?
Go read the whole thing.