Written By: Mohammed al-Kibsi
Article Date: Feb 28, 2011 - 12:24:28 PM
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has urged Muslims to revolt against Arab rulers and to establish governments based on Islamic law, revealed an audio recording posted on militant websites on Saturday.
AQAP’s appeal comes at a time of growing political unrest in the Arab world. Popular uprisings have deposed the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and anti-government protests are gaining momentum in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain. The speaker on the audio recording is identified as Ibrahim al-Rubeish, a former detainee at the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison.
The Yemen-based AQAP, an off-shoot of the global Al-Qaeda network, produced the recording, according to the SITE Intel group. The latter is a US-based group that monitors extremist websites. AQAP militants in Abyan province launched attacks against security and military officials in Lawdar district. It is also believed that AQAP and its allies were behind the deadly attacks against officers and soldiers in Aden.
In the 10-minute recording, Al-Rubeish criticizes Saudi Arabia for providing a haven for deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. He also said that toppling long-time rulers was not enough and that new governments should be established based on Islamic religious law, or Shariah.
“One tyrant goes, only to be replaced another who may fix for the people some of their worldly issues by offering job opportunities and increasing their income, but the greater problem remains,” al-Rubeish said, according to a translation provided by SITE.
Political analyst Ahmad al-Zurqa said that the statement from al-Rubeish was part of an AQAP strategy to beautify its image. “AQAP is trying to find a place in the new political map,” said al-Zurqa. He said that the comments from al-Rubeish did not serve the current revolutionary movement in the Arab world and that regimes might use it to justify oppression against protestors. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has meanwhile met with Sana’a military commanders on Saturday. He said that they were facing complex and difficult circumstances, as elsewhere in the Arab world.
“The country is going through great difficulties. For four years there was a kind of tit-for-tat between the (opposition) Joint Meeting Parties and the ruling party (General People’s Congress) and we are trying all means to address and overcome these difficulties through democratic means but to no avail. Although, the political leadership has provided a package of reforms,” explained Saleh. “This package of reforms is designed to calm the situation and heal the rift between all political forces and maintain the security, stability and unity of the country,” said Saleh.
He said that there was a clear plot against unity in Yemen. He said that two positions have emerged clearly over recent years; the first seeks to divide Yemen’s south from its north while the other seeks to turn the north into an Islamic state. “We are confident that our people and the great national institution will abort any plots.
They will not accept to return to the past,” said Saleh. Regarding continued sit-in protests opposing the government, President Saleh said that these and marches were guaranteed by the country’s Constitution and law. “We say to the Yemeni people that the homeland is in safety as long as it is in the hands of their brave sons, who will defend their unity,” added Saleh.
• Offensive against militants drives US drone campaign, tribes claim
• Family to hand over militants should drone campaign cease
• Government says Al Qaeda deputy amir dead, experts skeptical