Sunday, February 14, 2010
The new (twelfth) issue of Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) bi-monthly cyber magazine Sada al-Malahim, the Echo of Epics or Echo of Epic Battles/Encounters, was released today via AQAP's media outlet, the Al-Malahim Media Foundation. The cover story, unsurprisingly, was given to the attempted airplane bombing by 'Umar Faruq 'Abdulmutallab, also spelled "Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab, on December 25 of the previous year. The attack was claimed by AQAP in a statement released on December 28.
One article which caught my eye as I quickly skimmed the table of contents is one entitled, "The Houthis: Rawafid [Rejectionists] in a Zaydi Mask/Veil." The Arabic term "Rawafid," along with the term "Rafidah," is a derogatory one used by Salafi Sunnis for Shi'is of all stripes. The inference is that Shi'is "reject" the "true Islam" and instead are practitioners of a wayward creed, one even outside the realm of Islam. The article accuses the Houthis, Zaydis who have waged a rebellion against the central government of President 'Ali 'Abdullah Saleh (Salih) since 2004, of connections with Twelver Shi'i Iran. The title exhibits nuance, as it seemingly accuses the Houthis of not being "real" Zaydi Shi'is. Many Zaydis consider themselves to be much closer to Sunnis than Isma'ili or Twelver Shi'is. Similarly, many Sunnis in Yemen and the wider Muslim world have expressed similar views. A popular Twelver Shi'i preacher in English-speaking countries, 'Ammar Nakshawani, has claimed that some Yemeni Zaydis are "moving closer" to Twelver Shi'ism, and has called for Twelver Shi'is to support this group. The sources of his claims are unclear.
Roughly 20-30% of Yemen's population is believed to be Zaydi, and some powerful Zaydi leaders support the government's campaign against the Houthis.
Recently, Al-Qa'ida Central leader Abu Yahya al-Libi denied in an essay allegations by the Yemeni government that AQAP or AQC were allies of the Houthis. Other AQAP leaders have revealed a poisonous anti-Shi'i streak.
A second article that caught my eye is entitled, "Yemen's 'Ulama [religious scholars] and the Onset of the Crusade." A third article, related to the first, which also looks promising is entitled, "The Rejectionists and the Arab(ian) Peninsula."
Sada al-Malahim #12
Sada al-Malahim (Echo of Epics/Epic Battles, #12)