Yemen, Iran, Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, AQ, AQAP, Ansar al-Shari’a, USA
By Elijah J. Magnier (on Twitter @EjmAlrai )
The Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm helped Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to gain more ground, showing an increase of financial assets and popularity, providing public services in ther controlled area, mainly in Hadramawt province, the home of Usama Bin laden’ family. AQAP is no longer using this acronym, but, mainly the name of Ansar al-Sharia (AaS) and is introducing new names. Saudi Arabia’ war is definitely contributing in increasing the power of AaS in Yemen provinces.
Riyadh is sucked into a Yemen quagmire when, almost a year ago, it has declared total war against the Zaidi tribes, once considered old partners and allies. Saudi Arabia needs all the possible help to come out of Yemen with less damage possible. It is accusing Iran of intervening in its backyard, raising tension between the two countries. The nervousness reached its peak when a video leaked to the Saudi, showing pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah Video training Houthis in Intelligence warfare inside Yemen, confirmed authentic to me by sources close to Hezbollah leadership. Therefore, it is not surprising to see reports on a collaboration between the Saudi-led coalition and Ansar al-Sharia (AQAP) for the battle against the Zaydi Houthis as the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran increases.
Ansar al-Sharia come out as the absolute winner, offering infrastructure support, “recruiting” through activities, public service and games to win the “hearts and the minds”. It certainly contradict John O. Brennan, Assistant to the U.S.A President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, who said in 2012 that “Al-Qaida has been left with just a handful of capable leaders and operatives, and with continued pressure is on the path to its destruction. And for the first time since this fight began, we can look ahead and envision a world in which the al-Qaida core is simply no longer relevant.” Brennan’ statement is unfounded as we see the conditions of Ansar al-Shari’a improving and its control over land is expansion. Al-Qaeda in Yemen has a fully functional harbour in Mkallah, bringing not only substantial financial support, but can also welcome recruits in a safe environment. Usama Bin Laden’s death didn’t leave a weak al-Qaeda in 2016. Had he not been killed, he would have been proud of it today in the home of his ancestors.
In religious extremist groups, no Mujaheed or leader is indispensable, regardless his charisma. Al-Qaeda with its franchises, have never been stronger, despite the death of key leaders or the “Islamic State” rivalry in several countries. The new branch or franchise in Syria came from the womb of the “Islamic State in Iraq” group to increase the number of al-Qaeda Mujahideen, willing to engage in Jihad. Al-Qaeda (fi bilad al Sham) in Syria (i.e. Jabhat al-Nusra), is attracting thousands of Syrians among its ranks that never joined the arms before the war on the Syrian land.
The assassination of AQAP leader and Bin Laden’s companion, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, respected even by al-Qaeda’s rivals, was immediately replaced by Qasim al-Raymi. The killing of Ibrahim al-Rubaish, AQAP’s top ideological leader and scholar, brought to light other key figures (see photos).
Today, al-Qaeda in Yemen is mirroring the name of the area, province or city where it is operating. New names like “Abna’ Hadramawt” (sons of Hadramawt-see photos below) and “Abna’ Ab’yan” (sons of Ab’yan) are mainly used along with the name of Ansar al-Sharia, not the name of AQAP.
The name of al-Qaeda has been dressed to the group by the U.S.A, even if it was used in Afghanistan to indicate the Base of the Mujahideen. In the 80’s and the 90’s, names like Ma’sadat al-Ansar, Marqaz al-Siddiq, Marqaz al-Farooq, Jama’at al-Jihad, Qa’idat al-Jihad, Jam’iyat al-Inqaz al-Islamiya, al-Jabha al-Alamiya li-qital al-Yahud wal-Salibiy’een, al-Qaeda al-Tadribiya, Qaedat al-Mujahedeen and other names. These were used to indicate the Mujahedden gathering, organization or base of training or even a database. The name al-Qaeda was first publicly used in 1993 . It was the plan of Bin Laden to change it. Yemen AaS is taking the lead of change, adopting another name and more names to meet the population on their ground.
Important: One Billion riyals found at Ansar al-Shari’a commander house in Mamsoura, Aden, Yemen. http://www.barakish.net/news01.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=394543
- Removing uncovered female adverts in Mkallah by Ansar al-Shari’a (AQAP)
2. Destroying ancient tombs in Hadramawt
3. Religious Police called Hisba in Hadramawt, Yemen
4. Key figures in Ansar al-Shari’a
5. Stoning to death for claim of adultery
6. Public services , activities, first aid kits, food distribution and da’wa kiosk.
7. Ansar al-Sharia offering an electric generator
8. “Sons of Hadramawt” offering gas at reduced price
7. Medicine distribution in Hadramawt-Mkallah. Hear “Abna’ Hadramawt” (Ansar al-Shari’a / AQAP) in Video:
8. (Masjed) “Aqsa (Palestine) we are coming”:
9. Ansar al-Shari’a, in Adan, issuing a communiqué denying media claims they are behind the killing of a leading Salafi sheikh
10. Ansar al-Shari’a Al-Masra’ weekly news Paper:
Few Front page Titles:
Saudi Arabia suspends $3bn donation to the Lebanese Army
Last batch of Abbottabad documents released (UBL)
Sheikh Joulani speech (Jabhat al-Nusra Emir)
11. Money (bonus) distribution by Ansar al-Sharia, in the name of “Abna’ Hadramawt” (as written on the envelops, motivating hospital personnel. A mini-state in Yemen province”
12. Burning Music CDs in Mkalla by Ansar al-Shari’a (note the continuos change of name)
13. Executing a “sorcerer” in Al-Sha’har city, Yemen, by Ansar al-Shari’a. Note that Ansar al-Shari’a doesn’t show the execution act, unlike ISIS, bit is holding the same ideology. Media approach is different.