New statement from al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula: “Statement on the Operations of Defense for the People of the Sunnah”

UPDATE 2: Here is an English translation of the below statement in Arabic:

al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — Statement on the Operations of Defense for the People of the Sunnah (English)

UPDATE: Here are a few key selections translated into English via Evan Kohlmann:

Special units have been formed to defend our Sunni brothers against… the evil plots of Iranian Shiites in Saada… led by Houthis.

The Shiites are a legitimate target for us, so we advise our fellow Sunnis to avoid their gatherings… before it is too late.

NOTE: The below statement from al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula claims responsibility for the two car bombs that went off this past week in northern Yemen. The first attack came on ‘Īd al-Ghadīr, which is a Shīʻah holiday commemorating the appointment of Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib by the Muslim prophet Muḥammad as his immediate successor. The second attack occurred two days later during the funeral procession for Badr ad-Dīn al-Ḥūthī, who is seen as the most influential Zaydī scholar of the past generation.

AQAP differentiates between Zaydī’s writ-large, who range from 30-40% of the Yemeni population and the Ḥūthī’s who have fought six battles on and off with the Yemeni government since 2004. AQAP describes the Ḥūthī’s as Rāfiḍah or rejectionists. This is a derogatory term usually used to describe Ithnā ‘Asharī Shī’ī (Twelver Shī’ism as practiced in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon). This is an important distinction for AQAP since as Christopher Anzalone noted so well on Twitter:

Zaydis’ place in Yemeni society is quite different from the situation in Iraq. Many Yemeni Sunnis consider Zaydis to basically be Sunnis. The weakening of Zaydi religous institutions with the fall of the Imamate and the coming of Salafism to northern Yemen, areas traditionally dominated by Zaydis, has also led to a number of Zaydis considering themselves to be closer to Shafi’i Sunnism than Ithna ‘Ashari Shi’ism. A number of Zaydis also became Salafis as a way of protesting rigid social hierarchies dominated by Zaydi sayyids.

Bottom line, though, is that this is not good for Yemen as a whole. This could plunge the country into tit for tat tribal and intra-religious warfare. I will have more to say about this in the coming days.

Click the following link for a safe Pdf copy of it: al-Qā’ida in the Arabian Peninsula — Statement on the Operations of Defense for the People of the Sunnah