AQAP military commander rallies Sunnis against alleged US-Houthi alliance

“Speech Regarding the American-Houthi Alliance in Yemen by Commander Abu Hureira Qassem al Raymi.” Source: Al Malahem Media Foundation.

In an audio message released by the al Malahem Media Foundation, the media wing of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the terror group’s military commander Qasim al Raymi comments on what he dubs the “American-Houthi alliance” that is allegedly facilitating the Shiite rebel group’s advance throughout Yemen.

Al Raymi is an AQAP co-founder who was designated by the US Department of State in 2010 for his role in “reviving the regional node” of al Qaeda in Yemen and his participation in various terrorist plots, including the attack on the USS Cole in Aden. The audio message was released to YouTube as a video showing a still shot of Raymi as well as an image of what appears to be a crowd of Houthi supporters carrying an American flag bearing the Houthi logo with a drone flying overhead [see above].

In the audio message, al Raymi describes the Houthi takeover of various Yemeni provinces as “the delivery from one hand to another, from one agent to another, by the command of the master … America, under the supervision of their messenger, Ibn Omar [Jamal Benomar, the UN Special Adviser on Yemen.]” Raymi calls the Houthi rebels “the coming rifle of America” and threatens them with “horrors that will make the hair of young children turn grey” in retaliation for their alleged attacks on mosques, schools, and civilian houses.

Despite AQAP’s accusations of US-Houthi collusion, the Obama administration successfully urged the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on three Yemenis, including Houthi leaders Abdul Khaliq al Houthi and Abudllah Yahya al Hakim, for their role in threatening Yemen’s stability. The US has accused former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh – the third Yemeni figure sanctioned by the UN – of facilitating the Houthi takeover of Yemen. AQAP has pointed to US drone strikes against against the group during the course of fighting with the Houthis as proof for this alleged US-Houthi alliance. In a recent video interview, AQAP commander Jalal al Marqishi made specific mention of an Oct. 24 drone strike in the Manasseh district of Radaa, noting that it paved the way for the Houthis to take the area.

Raymi makes mention of Houthi human rights violations during the course of the Shiite rebels’ military advance throughout the country which began in earnest early this year with the capture of the Sunni stronghold of Dammaj in northern Sa’ada province and Amran in July. Raymi accuses the Houthis of killing students in Dammaj as well as killing, displacing, and looting from civilians in “Amran, al Jawf, Sana’a, Maysara, Arhab, Radaa, and Ibb.”

Raymi vows to exact a harsh punishment on the Houthis, proclaiming, “the bill of punishment is long and has not yet begun, so prepare to pay it with your souls and lives.” He tries to explain that now that the Houthis hold the reins of power in Yemen, AQAP need not continue fighting a two-front war – the Houthis and the Yemeni authorities are effectively “one entity.”

The AQAP commander assures the Sunni tribes of Yemen that his fighters will act as a “strong shield,” protecting them and putting “our throats before yours.” He indicates that AQAP’s assurances of victory are grounded in the group’s “holding fast to our religion and rejecting the tyrants and their laws.”

At the end of his address, Raymi calls upon Yemen’s Sunni tribesmen to fight the Houthis as a religious ordinance. He says that AQAP’s anti-Houthi campaign is a “response to the command of our Lord,” which is incumbent on all Muslims. Raymi explains that no one is allowed to abandon this sacred duty, especially when the Houthis are in their own backyards. He abjures those who do not participate in the battle, “Why do you not fight in the cause of Allah?”

Raymi tells his listeners that there are only two good outcomes: “victory or martyrdom.” According to his message, refusing to participate in the struggle ordained by Allah will only lead to humiliation and shame. He concludes the recording by asking Allah to glorify those who obey his commands and humiliate those who choose to disobey.

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