Seeking tribal support. The new video of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Analysis and translation
On 14 February 2023, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released through its official media al-Malahem, an 11:40-minute video entitled: “They support Allah and his messenger”.
Over the past year, AQAP has become very active again in both propaganda and military operational terms, despite suffering major losses and defeats by militias linked to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and supported by the United Arab Emirates, such as the “Security Belt Force” and the “Shabwa Defence Force”.
In addition to various statements claiming attacks on Yemeni soil, this is the third video released by AQAP in 2023.
The first one was released in January 2023, 17:43 minutes long entitled: “O People of Faith and Wisdom” in which its leader Khalid Batarfi criticises and attacks Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and its militias, Israel and the Houthis, calling them agents of the United States and Iran. Towards the end of the video, however, he praised and thanked the AQAP fighters for their operations in recent months and thanked the Yemeni tribes that support the “mujahideen”.
The second video was released on 5 February 2023, via Shahed, a media channel linked to al-Malahem Media, about 18 minutes long, entitled “The Saudi regime and the reasons for the rebellion”. The video focuses mainly on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, showing him as a lascivious and vicious man who dances, listens to music, follows cinema, and football, engages in tourism, and allows these practices within the kingdom. Furthermore, he is accused of betraying Muslims in China, India and Palestine. At the end of the video, there is an appeal by Batarfi calling on Yemenis to revolt.
These two videos show how AQAP’s propaganda is still focused not only on a local but also a global struggle, or at least against local actors who in one way or another operate or have interests in Yemen.
The third video, on the other hand, features al-Qaeda’s prominent veteran commander, Sa’ad bin Atef al-Awlaki, as a speaker, and focuses mainly on targeting local Yemeni tribes, while also mentioning external actors, of course.